Neighbors react to Marigny homeowner shooting alleged intruder
Posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:09 PM
Updated Friday, Jul 26 at 9:53 PM
NEW ORLEANS -- A 14-year-old boy is hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the head by a Marigny homeowner. Police say the teen was standing on the shooter's property in the 700 block of Mandeville Street.
Now the homeowner faces an attempted second degree murder charge.
"I think its a terrible situation. I know Merritt very well. He's a very good friend and it's very sad," said neighbor Charles Hazouri.
Around 2 a.m. Friday, the New Orleans Police Department says a 14-year-old boy ended up shot in the head, allegedly standing in 33-year-old Merritt Landry's yard. Police say the Marigny homeowner spotted the teen by his car and fired one shot striking him in the head.
Hazouri says his security cameras allegedly show the 14-year-old scaling his neighbor's fence and eight minutes later the police cars pull up.
Hazouri claims those same cameras capture three events between 9:40 p.m. Thursday night and 2 a.m. Friday. He says several people allegedly rode by on bikes checking out homes and parked cars.
Hazouri won't share the video with Eyewitness News, but says he's giving copies to police and Landry's attorneys. He adds his friend felt threatened before pulling the trigger.
"All I know is that Merritt had told his family that he had said: 'Freeze!' and it looked like the guy turned at him and had his hand on his hip. Who knows?" said Hazouri.
Police won't say if the teen was armed or if there was an argument between the 14-year-old and Landry.
With the teen in critical condition, Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino says its hard to tell what will happen when this case makes it to court. Ciolino also adds the outcome will depend on if the 14-year-old survives.
"Someone is breaking into my car. I can use force that is reasonable and necessary to prevent the trespass to my automobile. But if my force causes the person to die it becomes much more difficult to use defense of property," said Ciolino.
For one resident this latest shooting is part of a larger crime problem in the Marigny.
"I don't know the facts over here, but you can't walk out of your house in this neighborhood without someone having a gun to your face and that is not right," said Kathleen who asked that we use only her first name.
"I think 14-year-olds should be at home in bed, but kids are out late," said Meg Marino who lives a couple of doors down from the shooting. She says more needs to be done to stop the crime and violence.
"I think anything we can do make the neighborhood safer for anyone whether you're 14 or 32. I'd just be really looking for solutions to make this neighborhood safer for everybody," said Marino.
Landry works for the City of New Orleans as a building inspector. The city says he has been placed on emergency suspension without pay pending the outcome of this case.
Attorneys for Landry released a statement late Friday: "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."
Landry's bond was set to $10,000; he posted bond late Friday afternoon.