Incident Happened Shortly After the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Case Wrapped Up
New Orleans (CNN) — A critically wounded 14-year-old, shot by a homeowner in an early morning encounter, now lies in the middle of a passionate debate between two vocal groups — one calling for a stop to violence and one defending the right of self-defense.
The shooting, happened just before 2 a.m. July 26 in a gentrified neighborhood in New Orleans. It came less than two weeks after George Zimmerman’s acquittal in a similar case in Florida.
Police say Marshall Coulter, who was unarmed, hopped a 6-foot fence surrounding the driveway and courtyard area of the home of Merritt Landry, who is now charged with attempted second-degree murder.
Landry, a city building inspector who has since been put on leave, was home with a pregnant wife and toddler. He shot once at Coulter, hitting him in the head, police said.
Family friends of the teen say he’s been in critical condition and hasn’t awakened for over a month, and doctors think he may be paralyzed on one side.
Landry, 33, was arrested after police said his explanation of what happened that night conflicted with a witness’s statement, and evidence at the scene — namely, the casing from the bullet of his gun, found about 30 feet from Coulter’s body.
Landry had told police he and the teen were both near his car when Coulter made a sudden movement, prompting Landry to shoot, a police report states.
The case is making its way through the initial stages of the criminal court system in Orleans Parish, and the district attorney still has to decide whether to prosecute the case as police have charged it. The next hearing is set for September 20. Landry, through his attorney, declined CNN’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, Coulter is fighting for his life in a hospital bed. His family of eight is on a rotation to make sure he’s never alone.
But Landry is fighting for his life, too, friends say.
“I could see that happening to myself very easily,” said Ron Evans, a family friend who has known Landry since he was a toddler. “Who knows what reaction you take if you walk out to inspect a noise in your house and someone jumps at you.”
With emotions from Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin still raw, tensions in the neighborhood have spilled out onto the streets.
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Article Courtesy of CNN
Picture Courtesy of The Urban Daily