When Marigny resident Merritt Landry shot 14-year-old Marshal Coulter late one night last week, I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. Happy a law abiding citizen shot an intruder; or sad another 14-year-old black kid in New Orleans is lost.
Around 2 a.m. last Friday, Landry shot Coulter in the head in his side yard on Mandeville Street. Landry’s dog alerted him of the intruder. Inside Landry’s house was his pregnant wife and baby daughter.
Landry claims Coulter was reaching for something when he shot him. Coulter was unarmed.
Landry’s life would have had to be at risk for the shooting to be justified. Obviously police that night didn’t feel it was justified, or that Landry’s life was in “imminent danger”, so they arrested him. Landry’s lawyer feels his client will be exonerated. And he might be right.
Even though Landry is white and Coulter is black, this isn’t a racial incident. The questions that need to be answered are easy: Was Landry’s or his family’s life in danger? And what about Coulter? 14 years old and out on the street at 2am?!? How is that possible? Isn’t Coulter’s mom somewhat responsible too?
One side of me is sad: we’ve lost another young black kid to crime. And another side of me is glad: a homeowner took things into his own hands and shot a criminal on his property that was obviously up to no good. A court will decide Landry’s fate. And God will decide the critically injured Coulter’s.