A New Orleans resident, MerrittLandry, has been charged with attempted second-degree murder for shooting a teenager, Marshal Coulter. Thefourteen-year-old victim reportedly had a history of thefts, according to his own motherand brother, and was seen casing Landry’s home, according to aneyewitness. The teen then apparently jumped a 5-6-foot fence and headed towards the Landry residence, where Landry’s pregnantwife and infant daughter were present, according to the police and the home-defender. It was 2 a.m.
The case comes years after a high-profile 2007 New Orleans killingin the same area where a killer entered a dwelling and ruthlessly shot amother and a father as the father held their infant. The mother died ofher wounds. The case had become a huge ordeal in the city, withthousands protesting the high crime in Post-Katrina New Orleans. Thekiller was never caught, but was believed to be a teenager.
A more recent case, from March of this year, occurred just blocksfrom the location of the man shooting the teen. A group of three orfour young men attacked a man with a bottle, brutally beating him anddisfiguring his face. (A video shows the gory details.)
Now a manstands accused for fearing the young thief on his property possibly doing thesame–and shooting him.
The case has divided the city along racial lines, with even many of thegenerally Democrat and liberal Marigny neighborhood supporting thehomeowner, while many people in the black communities of New Orleans supportingthe teenager. Many in New Orleans’ various black communities hadrecently protested and held rallies over the Trayvon Martin ordeal andexpressed outrage at the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman.
The NAACP and other groups immediately involved themselves, demanding the home-defender not receive bond, or otherwise demanding investigations into whomever played a role in allowing him to post bail.
The teen was reportedly not armed, but the homeowner seemingly had no way of knowing that. The New Orleans police say the fact that the teen did not have agun means the man and his family were not in imminent danger.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the victim’s brother as stating: “He would steal–he was a professional thief, sure…But he would never pick up a gun, not in a million years. He wastoo scared to aim a gun at the grass, let alone aim it at a person. Noway. Before he’ll ever pick up a gun, he’ll be your friend first.'”
The paper also reports the following comment from Landry’s attorneys: “This incident is terrible, and Mr.Landry feels terrible about how things have occurred. Nevertheless, weremain convinced our client has done nothing wrong, and we are sure–as facts come to light– t’ll become clear that Mr. Landry will befully exonerated of any wrongdoing.”
Image source: WGNO-ABC