NEW ORLEANS — The property manager accused of producing a gun at an otherwise calm eviction that escalated into a shooting in which he and a deputy constable were wounded has been booked with aggravated assault with a firearm, court records show.
Alonzo Horton, 36, surrendered with his attorney and has been released after posting a pre-set bond in the case in which he and Deputy Constable Warren Smith, 53, were both shot while the constable was wrapping up the service of an eviction notice.
The tenant who was being served the eviction notice, 23-year-old Jason Tillman, was captured after a massive manhunt hours after the shooting, but so far has only been booked with being a felon with a firearm in connection with the eviction that turned violent.
Leon Roche II is representing Horton as his defense attorney.
“There were previous threats from Mr. Tillman that there would be violence during an eviction," Roche said, "And he was armed and ready for violence.”
According to Roche, both Tillman and Horton were armed. Court documents show Horton pointed a rifle at Tillman.
“He [Horton] does not have any felony convictions; it is lawful for him to possess a firearm,” Roche said.
According to our partners at NOLA.com, Horton was accused of aggravated battery against a teenager while he was working as a counselor at the Youth Study Center in 2012, but he was later charged with a misdemeanor, criminal mischief, in connection with that incident.
Horton's booking, first reported in an exclusive story by WWL-TV, adds a bizarre twist in the Oct. 5 shooting that led to one of the biggest manhunts in recent history, with SWAT teams swarming two different locations with massive support from other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including K-9s, drones and a helicopter.
“I think Mr. Tillman was the aggressor in this situation. And I think that Mr. Horton took action to save his life and possibly even the deputy’s life,” Roche said.
The officers first tried to corner Tillman in the 7800 block of Coronet Court, where he was being served with the eviction notice, but he slipped past that perimeter.
He was then located 10 miles away on Iberville Street in Mid-City where he was eventually coaxed out of a house without further incident.
First City Court Constable Lambert Boissiere Jr. said the violent scenario is “exactly why always tell the landlord to step back and let us handle the eviction.”
“Let the deputies do their job and don’t try to interfere,” he said.
Boissiere said Smith has not yet returned to work, but is well on his road to a full recovery.
Horton’s bail was set at $3,500 by Criminal Court Judge Nandi Campbell, the court records show. Horton posted the bail before being booked and remains free.
Roche said Horton is recovering from two gunshot wounds to the torso and a graze wound to head.
“The one in his groin actually traveled up to his back. It’s like five inches away from his heart at this moment. It’s still inside of him,” Roche said, “So, he almost lost his life out there.”
Roche said its now up to the District Attorney to decide if Horton will be formally charged.
According to Roche, Horton is a former prep football standout who played for Abramson before doing a stint at Auburn.