NEW ORLEANS -- Merritt Landry called 911 shortly after shooting Marshall Coulter outside his Marigny home on July 26, 2013. The homeowner sounds frantic and shaken, asking questions about how to “help the guy.”
It’s new information before never heard by the public that was released Tuesday by DA Leon Cannizzaro.
Cannizzaro declined to prosecute Landry for the shooting last Thursday, and because the case is now closed, most of the file is now a public record, including the 911 call, interviews with witnesses and with the New Orleans Police officers who were first on the scene.
The 911 call begins with a dispatcher asking what the emergency is. "I came outside and found this guy in my yard. I just shot him. He's -- he's down," Landry says.
The investigative file shows witnesses, including Landry’s wife, told police he fired a single shot at Coulter. He dialed 911 after the teen fell to the ground, not before going outside armed to check why his dog was barking, and why he heard noises in his gated front yard.
Landry has said he felt like Coulter was going to break into his house where his wife and child had been sleeping. The shooting happened just before 2 a.m.
"I shot him in his (inaudible) right by my fence," Landry tells the dispatcher.
Landry, clearly shaken up by the shooting, initially tells the operator Coulter was shot in the shoulder.
"Oh my God. I can't believe this,” Landry said.
“Listen, listen. I need to calm you down," the dispatcher replies.
Later on in the call, Landry says others arrived at his house.
"I'm, I'm trying to help the dude. He's down now,” Landry said. “He's still not responding,” the dispatcher said. “Um. No. He's not responding," Landry responds.
The dispatcher connects Landry through to EMS to try and get some instructions on how to help him.
"Sir, what is your name,” the EMS dispatcher asks.
“Merritt Landry,” he replies.
“You know where he's shot,” the dispatcher asks.
“He's shot in the head," Landry replies.
Toward the end of the call, the dispatcher asks Landry why he shot him, “You think this guy was trying to rob you? Like -- what do you think was going on?"
Landry says someone had arrived and he asked to get off the phone.
WWL-TV received some of the surveillance video of the incident contained in the case file. One angle shows shadowy figures moving around outside what appears to be Landry’s house.
It looks like one jumps over the fence. Minutes later, police cruisers arrive at the scene.
You can hear the entire 911 call here.