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Black Boy, 14, Clings To Life After Being Shot In The Head By A White Homeowner

Marshall Coulter, 14, is in critical condition after being shot in the head on Friday by Merritt Landry, 33, a white homeowner and buildings inspector for the Historic District Landmarks Commission who believed Coulter was trying to break into his home in Marigny.

But according to police, Coulter was unarmed and did not pose a threat to Landry, who has been charged with attempted second-degree murder.

The police warrant states that Coulter was near Landry’s vehicle, about 30 feet away from Landry’s home, when he was shot around 2 a.m. Landry was alerted to Coulter’s presence on his property by his barking dog and claims that he went out to his front yard to confront Coulter. But as he made his way toward him, Landry says Coulter moved as if  reaching for what he feared might be a weapon. Believing his life was in danger, Landry fired at Coulter, hitting him in the head.

But NOPD investigators dispute Landry’s story:

NOPD Detective Nicholas Williams spoke with an unidentified witness who gave an account that differed from Landry’s, though the detective did not specify how. Williams wrote in the warrant that Coulter was not trying to enter Landry’s house and did not pose an “imminent threat” to Landry.

Landry’s attorneys issued a statement on Friday, 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.”

White Neighbors Stick Together

Landry’s neighbors have also defended him, citing the fact that he has a pregnant wife and baby daughter. His friend and neighbor, Charles Hazouri, told the Picayune, “He’s got a family. You’ve got to protect your own.” Hazouri also expressed concern that the shooting would garner as much attention as the murder of Trayvon Martin. “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.”

Hazouri claims to have surveillance cameras outside his home that recorded two black teens riding BMX bikes in the neighborhood around 1:44 a.m. One of them, according to Hazouri, jumped the fence into Landry’s yard while the other stayed across the street.

Another of Landry’s white neighbors, who asked not to be identified, told the Picayune that he saw one of the same black teens the surveillance footage biking in the neighborhood around 8 p.m. 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,” he said.

A Devastated Family

Meanwhile, Coulter’s family told the Picayune that he is paralyzed on the left side of his body and has only partial movement on the right. Should he survive, doctors warn he will likely have sever brain damage.

David Coulter, Marshall’s grief-stricken older brother, explained to the Picayune that he and his siblings have had a rough few years but Marshall is still a good kid.

Coulter is the seventh of eight children. Coulter’s 23-year-old brother, David Coulter, said he had largely raised the children after their father died three years ago of stomach cancer. David said he and his mother did his best to keep Marshall out of trouble.

Marshall Coulter, who had been on medication for attention deficit hyperactive disorder, was awaiting trial for “stealing stuff,” his brother said.

“He would steal — he was a professional thief, sure,” David Coulter said. “But he would never pick up a gun, not in a million years. He was too scared to aim a gun at the grass, let alone aim it at a person. No way. Before he’ll ever pick up a gun, he’ll be your friend first.

“He’s still a little boy,” the brother said. “Who pulls a trigger on a 14-year-old? What if it was your little brother or your sister? How would you feel?”

David made it clear that he has no interest in comparing his brother to Trayvon Martin, telling the Picayune, “That was Trayvon, this is Marshall. This is a whole different world. This is my little brother’s life on the line – I don’t care about anything else.” However, he did express a desire to see Landry held accountable . “I want to see a prosecution, not somebody who gets out after a couple of years. I want to see the system do its job for once.”


Protecting your family is one thing, but taking the law into your own hands is quite another. If Landry believed a bugler was outside his home, he should have called 911.  Of course he has every right to go outside and check things out for himself. But he didn’t even bother verbally warning Marshall Coulter to leave when he saw him near his car. Even police are required to do as much. Instead, as soon as the kid moved, Landry shot him. And last I checked, there is no law that permits you to shoot a human being just because they’re on your property, especially if you haven’t even asked them to leave.

On top of that, this was a white man reacting to a black teen who did nothing to threaten him. But for Landry, the mere act of “moving” or “reaching” while black is threatening enough to warrant a gunshot to the head. Would he have reacted the same way to a white 14-year-old in his yard? Who knows.  But the fact that his white neighbor and friend was suspicious of a black teen biking in their neighborhood earlier that evening simply because he was black leads me to believe that perhaps Landry’s mentality isn’t much different.

For those who believe Landry did nothing wrong, I’d like to know: would your conclusion be the same if a black homeowner had shot an unarmed white teen in his yard? If so, where were you when John McNeil, a black homeowner, was sentenced to life in prison in Georgia for shooting an armed white man who was threatening him and his son with a knife? Were you on the front lines of the protests to free him?

Stand Your Ground

Louisiana, where this latest shooting took place, has both a “castle doctrine” and stand your ground” law. The state’s castle law allows Louisiana residents to use force, deadly or otherwise, to prevent an offense against one’s safety or property in his or her “castle”, but the amount of force has to be “reasonable and apparently necessary to prevent such offense.”

Louisiana’s self defense laws also include a Justifiable Homicide statute that deems homicide justifiable if committed in self-defense by a person who “reasonably believes” they’re in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death.  The problem with these types of laws is the definition of “reasonable”, or lack thereof. A white jury might “reasonably believe” that a black 14-year-old, armed or not, poses a danger so great that execution is warranted.

Louisiana’s stand your ground statute, passed in 2006,  states: ”A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is in a place where he or she has a right to be shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force as provided for in this Section, and may stand his or her ground and meet force with force.” I imagine the legal issue here would be that Coulter never attacked Landry. He was just standing in his yard. So shooting the teen was not ‘meeting force with force’.  Nevertheless, the Louisiana law is nearly identical to the Florida statute, so again, it all depends on the jury.

22 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m left wondering, how much the verdict in the Travon Martin incident might have influenced this mans decision. And how many more just like it down the road?

    July 27, 2013
    • kvmann1 #

      I was thinking the same thing:

      “The fundamental danger of an acquittal is not more riots, it is more George Zimmermans. –jsmooth995 from twitter

      It’s all too depressing. I hope Marshall lives even though his life will never be the same. I trust Landry will get a decent amount of jail time.

      July 28, 2013
    • ThugsBeThuggin #

      I doubt it had much to do with it. If an individual, of any color, jumps your spiked fence in your gated community and enters your backyard un-invited at 2AM, he’s probably a thug and up to no good. White, black, brown, yellow, red, whatever. Skin color doesn’t matter. These little thugs come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

      If you play with snakes, you’re bound to get bit.

      This little thug, at 14, already had an arrest record for theft and burglary. It was only a matter of time before something bad happened to him.

      Trayvon was a thug who participated in recreational violence and fighting. He didn’t like the ‘creepy ass cracker’ who was keeping an eye and protecting his neighborhood (that had a high rate of breakins and theft) and the little thug decided to try to whoop his ass. In return he got a bullet to the chest for being a thug.

      Any well-adjusted member of society would have responded differently. If I am walking through a neighborhood, and I know someone is keeping an eye on me. You know what I do? I keep walking until I arrive at my destination. I don’t hide behind bushes and then confront someone or try to exert my dominance. This isn’t the jungle.

      If I were to jump over someones fence at that hour, just like this other teen, I am smart enough and well enough aware of what negative consequences may happen as a result of my action.

      July 28, 2013
      • I was a kid once. We broke into other people’s houses. We raided other people’s gardens. We were young and stupid. Our greatest threat was that we would get caught and reported to the school, police, or worse, our parents. Never did ever even contemplate that someone would put out a gun and shoot someone —we were white kids living in a white town (in Canada).

        Re: “I doubt it had much to do with it.”

        I respectfully disagree. People should be so scared to kill another human being to the point that they would think that they would go to jail if they pulled the trigger. Empowering people to think that they can defend themselves and their property with lethal force is dangerous.

        And if you look into law, even in stand your ground states, your life has to be in danger or be in danger of severe bodily harm. Not just someone trespassing on your property.

        July 28, 2013
  2. noah #

    his neighbour Charles Hazouri proved that white people such as these are more concerned with their gun rights being “restricted” than dead or crippled black children.

    July 27, 2013
    • ConcernedCitizen #

      That’s like saying, it is perfectly OK for a 14 year old ‘child’ to go onto someone’s locked and gated property at 2am with ill intent – to steal, vandalize, assault, rape, etc.

      I don’t think so. But keep on believing that.

      July 28, 2013
    • ConcernedCitizen #

      It is not surprising to hear that individuals here and on other message boards actually defend this teenaged ‘professional thief’ getting into a locked and gated property at 2 in the morning. Still SMH. Of course the homeowner had every right to defend his property against an intruder.

      I hope the punk in question doesn’t die, but goes on to live a long life dealing with these consequences of his own actions. Yeah the parents and guardians should be held liable, too.

      July 28, 2013
      • Royal #

        What is wrong with you. It’s ok to kill people now even when the victim hasn’t done anything. You are very sick. I hope you don’t have a child that gets shot.

        July 28, 2013
    • ConcernedCitizen #

      These black ‘children’ would not be dead or crippled if they respected people’s property and didn’t try to steal from law abiding citizens.

      And if the parents or guardians actually parented these kids and didn’t let them run the streets in the middle of the night, there would be fewer dead or crippled children. Kinda hard for a bleeding heart to comprehend reality I know, but I had to try.

      July 28, 2013
      • kvmann1 #

        This is not the wild wild west. Show me where it says you can protect your property with deadly force.

        July 28, 2013
  3. IF the child was breaking the the POLICE. No right to KILL or Maim a child. This CHILD apparently was on the STREET! unarmed!! He was NOT on this man’s Property which gives him NO RIGHT to use deadly force. I think these kinds of crimes are going to increase as well.. God Bless the Children. I do NOT condone the crimes..I DO OBJECT to the CRIME of MURDER and VIGILANTE JUSTICE!! CALL the POLICE FIRST and STAY in your HOUSE!!!

    July 28, 2013
  4. Oh c’mon. This wasn’t some well-adjusted nice kid. Even his Mom said the KID had a history of burglary and theft. He’s 14, and already has a damn criminal record! When are people going to start opening their eyes and realize that he was up to NO GOOD! Did he deserve to be shot? That is questionable. But we can all agree that this little thug shouldn’t have been out and about, climbing fences at 2AM!

    Just like Trayvonn, a couple of thugs up to no good. No concept of the law and influenced by all the wrong people.

    I’m sick of seeing these sensationalized stories about the rare times a white man kills a black man. Do you have any idea how many more black people kill black people? How many more black people kill white people? God forbid a white man protects his property from some thug, or some Hispanic man is protecting his gated community, and people get all upset? Man, you’ll get murdered in Detroit (regardless of color) just for your damned shoes. Chicago is full of black on black murderous crime. Look up the statistics.

    I love all people of all color, do not mistake me. But I have very low tolerance of those who lack common sense. This teen knew he shouldn’t be there. He’s old enough to know right and wrong. He’s no stranger to this, he’s been out running around like this in the past. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it is what it is.

    I hope the kid survives and learns his lesson. I hope the home-owner, as he was protecting his property and his family, gets off and gets to be with his family.

    July 28, 2013
    • ajax88 #

      The homeowner, when he shot this young boy, knew nothing of his past, or history. All he was looking at was a 14 year old boy, maybe up to no good, maybe totally innocent..He knew nothing about him.

      The prudent and moral thing to do would have been to call the police and let them handle the situation.. Unless his life was threatened, he had no reason to shoot the boy…

      I am pro-gun.. I own guns… But there was no process in good decision making here.. It was a wanton waste of a young man, who if lives, faces a life long struggle, because of one man’s poor judgement.

      July 28, 2013
  5. K. Wyckshautt #

    That young man had problems with the law,..left uncorrected and unpunished this is how it ends. No more burglaries, no tresspassing,..assaults,…no more nothing. Behave yourself, respect other people and their property and chances are a homeowner won’t have to shoot you.

    July 28, 2013
  6. Almost 21 years ago, Yoshihiro Hattori, a sixteen year old Japanese exchange student in Baton Rouge Louisiana, was trying to get to a Halloween party dressed up as John Travolta but knocked on the wrong door. The door wasn’t immediately opened and Hattori and his friend retreated to their car. After the door was opened by Rodney Peairs and Hattori appoached him, Hattori was fatally shot in the chest. Peairs was acquitted of manslaughter but later lost a wrongful death civil trial.

    July 28, 2013
  7. Reblogged this on Danielle Paradis and commented:
    Dispatches from a “post-racial” society.

    July 29, 2013
  8. Brian #

    Here you go folks:
    The correct charge to bring in this case was manslaughter, not murder 2 and Mr. Roddick was correctly found not guilty.

    July 29, 2013
    • The cases aren’t the same.

      From :

      “SPREAD THE WORD! Racists are doing everything they can to convince others and themselves that their bigotry and hatred towards Trayvon Martin is anything but racism that they dare not even admit to themselves. They’re going to have to go back to square one and look for a new poster child for their cause of supporting Zimmerman’s vigilantism. They will not find it in the case of Roderick Scott.”

      Personally, I would have found Roderick Scott guilty. He sounds like a sociopath, “I’m going to go home and get a good night’s sleep.”

      July 29, 2013
      • ThugsBeThuggin #

        How is this racism? How was the Trayvon Martin case racism?

        You are aware that despite the fact that blacks make up 13% of the population, they commit over HALF the murders in the US? 95+% of all blacks who get murdered are done by other blacks.

        That’s not racism, that is FACTS. Statistics. Information. Something that fails to get absorbed in the narrow minds of most.

        God forbid someone who isn’t black pulls the trigger on a black man, it’s a big deal. Letting them kill each other, after all, is business as usual.

        I don’t want anyone to die, and I hope this teen survives and recovers and learns his lesson. I hope he realizes the path he chose in life was wrong, that being a little thug will get you nowhere and hopefully he comes a better individual who is motivated to make his community a better place and reaches out to his peers to get them on the right path too.

        July 31, 2013
      • ThugsBeThuggin —

        I wrote you a long reply replete with references and arguments but received a message that, “Your comment cannot be posted.” Maybe it had too many links – I don’t know. This will now be short.

        Intraracial crime statistics are irrelevant to the discussion of ethnicity and crime.

        Regarding interracial crime see:

        July 31, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Black Man, 60, Shot By Florida Cops In Own Front Yard; They Mistook Him For A Burglar | Dispatches from the Underclass
  2. Kevin Gosztola on Bradley Manning verdict, new NSA leak revelations, racial profiling fails at Unreported

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