Published On: Tue, Jul 30th, 2013

Louisiana man Merritt Landry charged with shooting teen Marshall Coulter, comparisons made to Trayvon Martin

A homeowner in New Orleans has been arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder after he shot an unarmed teen after he says he thought the boy was trying to break into his home.

Merritt Landry

Merritt Landry

Marshall Coulter, age 14, is in critical condition after being shot in the head by Merritt Landry, age 33, at around 2 am Friday morning.

According to the arrest warrant, Landry said he approached Coulter from his front yard, near his car. But as he drew closer, he said the boy made a “thwarted move, as if to reach for something.” Fearing it was a weapon, Landry shot him once from about 30 ft away.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports details the shooting, the arrest paperwork that includes  New Orleans Police Department Detective Nicholas Williams interviewed a witness who offered a differing account, but the details have not been released.

Williams determined that Coulter posed no “imminent threat” and was not trying to enter the house.

The Advocat has a longer quote from the report: “victim was not armed, was not attempting to enter the residence, was not posing an imminent threat to Merritt Landry.”

Judge Franz Zibilich set Landry’s bond at $100,000. Landry posted a property bond and was released late Friday.

Landry’s attorneys, Michael Kennedy and Miles Swanson, issued a statement after the arrest saying, “This incident is terrible, and Mr. Landry feels terrible about how things have occurred. Nevertheless, we remain convinced our client has done nothing wrong, and we are sure — as facts come to light — it’ll become clear that Mr. Landry will be fully exonerated of any wrongdoing.”

The Blaze reports that adding to the complication is the existence of surveillance video from a neighbor and friend of Landry’s, Charles Hazouri, that may show Coulter and another boy around 1:44 am in front of Landry’s yard casing it out [emphasis added]:

Hazouri, who owns property near Landry’s house, said his surveillance cameras captured two juveniles riding BMX bikes up and down Mandeville and Dauphine streets around 1:44 a.m. One of the teens was wearing a blue tank top with white stripes; the other was wearing a light-colored T-shirt, Hazouri said.

Earlier in the evening, a different neighbor said the teen in the blue tank top had been biking around the area around 8 p.m. and the neighbor believed he was looking at different houses.

“I thought about calling the cops, but the last thing I want to do is racially profile a little kid who’s just biking,” said the neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The neighbor and Landry are white; the two teens are black.

Hazouri said his video, which he gave to NOPD detectives, shows the two teens talking in the middle of Mandeville Street outside of Landry’s house. The video then shows the teen in the light-colored T-shirt walk his bike across Mandeville toward Landry’s house. Then, the teen walks back out to the middle of the road before climbing over Landry’s fence, Hazouri said. The other teen in the tank top stayed on the other side of Mandeville Street, Hazouri said.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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