Published on July 29th, 2013 | by Daniel Perlman0
Marigny homeowner booked with shooting 14-year-old
A Marigny homeowner has been booked with attempted second-degree murder after he shot a 14-year-old boy in the head early Friday, police said. The homeowner’s friends and neighbors said the owner believed the teen was an intruder. The teenager remains hospitalized in critical condition, police said.
New Orleans police arrested Merritt Landry, 33, a building inspector for the Historic District Landmarks Commission, after conducting multiple interviews and reviewing crime scene evidence, including a single spent casing at the scene, NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden said.
Police said the teen was near Landry’s vehicle when he was shot. Landry’s friends said the vehicle was in the driveway behind a gate just a few feet from the house’s backdoor.
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.”
A spokesman for the City of New Orleans said that Landry has been placed on emergency suspension without pay, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.
A friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he heard Landry’s account that he thought he was shooting at an intruder from Landry’s father, former St. Bernard Parish Justice of the Peace Larry Landry, who had heard directly from his son.
Charles Hazouri, a friend who owns property near the 700 block of Mandeville Street, where the shooting happened, 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.
Landry’s large dog started barking, which alerted Landry to the teen being inside his yard, according to Landry’s friends.
Landry, who has a pregnant wife and baby daughter, believed the teen was trying to break into his house, Hazouri said.
“Merritt is a friend. I can’t blame him one bit,” Hazouri said. “He’s got a family. You’ve got to protect your own.”
Speaking before Landry was arrested, Hazouri acknowledged the potential for his friend to be in legal trouble, nodding to the recent controversial acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. Zimmerman’s trial brought issues of self-defense shootings, racial profiling and Castle or “Stand Your Ground” laws to the national spotlight.
“Unfortunately, I feel bad about it because I hope it doesn’t turn out to be another Florida deal,” Hazouri said. “I’m a permit holder and a gun owner myself. You’ve got to stand up for your family.”
Source: nola.com “Marigny homeowner booked with shooting 14-year-old,” July 29, 2013.