The 14-year-old New Orleans boy who was shot in the head at 2 a.m. last Friday in an incident with overtones of the Trayvon Martin case has been identified as Marshall Coulter.
The teenager, who is still in alive in hospital, is in critical condition. According to Nola.com, which has spoken to his family, Coulter is only able to make slight movements on the right side of his body.
Doctors have told the family that if he survives, he will likely have severe brain damage.
An early-morning shooting in New Orleans threatens to be the latest divisive, racially charged tragedy to rock America.Click here to read more
In that same interaction, it was established that the boy, the seventh of nine children, has a history of burglary arrests.
“He would steal — he was a professional thief, sure,” said David Coulter, Marshall’s older brother, who also confirmed that Marshall was awaiting trial for “stealing stuff.” David was largely responsible for his little brother’s upbringing since the passing of their father three years ago.
But the family assured the reporter that Marshall had never used a gun.
“But he would never pick up a gun, not in a million years,” David said. “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.”
Marritt Landry, the man who shot the teenager late Friday night, has been released on a $100,000 property bond.
Landry reportedly told police that when he approached the boy in his front yard, he fired on him after he made a “move, as if to reach for something,” so he shot him. But according to NOPD Detective Nicholas Williams, an unidentified witness gave police a different account of the events from that evening. He did not specify on what that difference was.
In Landry’s police warrant, Williams wrote that Coulter was not trying to enter Landry’s home and did not pose an “imminent threat” to him, his baby daughter, or pregnant wife inside. Police have confirmed that Coulter was unarmed when he was shot.
Landry’s attorneys, Michael Kennedy and Miles Swanson, released 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.”
Charles Hazouri, a friend and neighbor of Landry, who has a video security system on his house, told Nola.com that the system captured two teenagers biking around the neighborhood around 1:45 a.m. that night. The one of the teens was described as wearing a blue tank top with white stripes, while the other was wearing a light-colored T-shirt. The video has been given to police. A second unidentified neighbor claimed to have seen the boy in the blue striped shirt earlier in the evening at about 8 p.m. 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 anonymous neighbor.
Landry was alerted to the teen in his yard by the family’s dog, who barked as the teen entered the property, according to Landry’s friends the day of his arrest.
The case has drawn media attention for its similarities to the Trayvon Martin case, which recently ended in the acquittal of George Zimmerman.