arrest: J Ardoin
Police News

Port Barre Man Arrested in Connection in to a Melville Area Death and Another Victims Injury

Note: The day of the shooting was February 15, 2022.

Public Information Officer
Deputy Chief Eddie Thibodeaux
Phone 337-948.6516 / Eunice Sub 337-457-4115
Email: pio@slpsheriff.com
Press Release: February 17, 2022 ********************************************

PORT BARRE MAN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION TO A MELVILLE AREA DEATH AND ANOTHER VICTIMS INJURY

ARRESTED

Jaden Michael Ardoin, age 18

114 Two O’clock Lane

Port Barre, Louisiana 70577

CHARGES

1 Count Attempted First Degree Murder

1 Count First Degree Murder

BOND

None

According to Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz, “The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Detective Section has arrested a Port Barre man in connection to the February 16, 2022 death of Wade Edward Smith and the injury of James Preston Allen Vaughn.”

According to the initial report, deputies with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office were dispatched at 7:28 PM to the 9000 block of Highway 105 in the Melville area for a person hearing gun shots.  The sheriff’s office then received another call at 7:35 PM stating that a vehicle was on fire in the same area. When the deputies arrived, they located a vehicle on fire and one victim who was identified as Wade Smith unresponsive and another victim identified as James Vaughn near the vehicle.  Vaughn was transported to an area hospital for his injuries.     

According to the investigation report, both Smith and Vaughn were at a gas station where Ardoin’s girlfriend worked and were regular customers.   Reports say that the two would routinely flirt with Ardoin’s girlfriend when they would enter the gas station but were asked by her not to do that anymore due to Ardoin being jealous.  Both agreed not to interact with her and proceeded to the dining area to eat. Ardoin and another subject entered the gas station, Ardoin was upset that they were there and left upset. A very short time later both Smith and Vaughn left the store in their vehicle. 

While driving down Highway 105, Smith and Vaughn passed Ardoin who was driving slowly in the lane.   Ardoin and the other subject then chased Smith and Vaughn down Highway 105 when Ardoin began shooting at them from behind.  Wade then reportedly told Vaughn that he was shot. Vaughn then grabbed the steering wheel and attempted to prevent the vehicle from veering off of the roadway but went off road and struck a tree. The truck then caught fire and Vaughn stated he noticed Wade in a slumped over position.  Vaughn stated he was assisted by an unknown female in getting out of the vehicle. 

Vaughn was able to identify Ardoin in a photographic line-up. Detectives located Ardoin and the vehicle used in the incident.  Detectives recovered key evidence at the scene and also obtained video surveillance footage from the Texaco/Canal gas station along with additional video from gas stations in proximity of the location.  The video surveillance footage depicts the brown Toyota Corolla (Ardoin) following a green Chevrolet truck (Wade and Vaughn) eastbound on Highway 190.  Ardoin was arrested and booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail.  The case is still under investigation and additional arrests are expected in the case.  

Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz stated, “Many concerns and assumptions were called into the media outlets, posted on social media, and called into my office about this case and other cases. I want to remind you of my promise and commitment I made to the citizens of the parish.  My office does not only want to make an arrest but a conviction in the cases. What seems to be open and shut cases must be investigated to the fullest and takes time.  I understand with the 24-hour news cycle and social media, everyone wants information on the case before the case is finished and the arrests are even made.  I assure you that my office is totally transparent but will not ever jeopardize a conviction of a case until the information can be released.  Always rely on our official news releases, not any other information being spread about cases.”  

On behalf of Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz, this is Deputy Chief Eddie Thibodeaux. All persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.