Shepherd stabbing victim identified, investigation continues

The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office is releasing more information regarding a domestic disturbance that resulted in a man being stabbed on Thursday at a property on the 700 block of Oak Forest Drive in Shepherd.

Law enforcement were called to the property around 1 p.m. Thursday after it was reported that a male, identified as Toby Whitley, 33, of Shepherd, suffered a stab wound in the neck and was allegedly armed with a long rifle.

“As deputies arrived, it was discovered during the lengthy investigation [that] Defendant Whitley and a woman were engaged in a physical disturbance reportedly over a previous relationship of the woman. The woman, identified as Laken Champagne, 27, from Shepherd, was forced by Defendant Whitley to take him to another nearby residence in order to retrieve the rifle,” according to a statement from Det. Gary Sharpen, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.

Inside a residence on the 700 block of Oak Forest Drive, Whitley is accused of loading the rifle, racking a round in the chamber and pointing it in the direction of Champagne.

“Champagne, frightened and scared she would be shot, was told to turn around by Defendant Whitley with the rifle reportedly pointed to her back,” the statement continues.

Following Whitley’s direction to start walking, Champagne allegedly pulled a knife she was carrying, swung around and starting stabbing Whitley in the neck. A struggle over the rifle ensued.

Champagne reportedly fled the house as a single gunshot was fired from the rifle in her direction, the report states.

“Laken ran to another nearby residence when her brother, Douglas Champagne, 32, from Shepherd, who happened to be driving by, hears his sister call for help. As Douglas stops his vehicle and exits in order to help his sister, Defendant Whitley was now in his own vehicle. Defendant Whitley drives his vehicle at a high rate of speed in the direction of Douglas, striking him with the vehicle, while pinning Douglas against his own vehicle,” the statement continues.

Afterward, Whitley reportedly fled the scene. When authorities arrived, they determined that the impact moved Douglas Champagne’s vehicle 10 feet from its original parked location.

Bleeding from his own injuries, Whitley reportedly drove from San Jacinto County to a home in Liberty County. From there, he was transported by Liberty County EMS to a local hospital.

According to Sharpen, Whitley was in critical condition at the time he was transported to the hospital. His current condition is unknown.

Whitley has three previous arrests, one of which was in January 2018 for Assault Causing Bodily Injury to a Family Member. Laken Champagne is listed as the victim in that assault. His other previous charges are for Burglary of a Habitation and Unlawful Restraint.

Douglas Champagne suffered several broken bones to his lower extremities when he was struck by Whitley’s vehicle. He was transported by EMS to a nearby hospital. Laken Champagne suffered a small cut across her forearm and was treated and released by EMS at the scene.

The case is still under investigation and charges are pending.

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