On Monday, a 26-year-old Nashville woman was charged with the attempted murder of a homeless man she shot in the middle of the street.
According to reports, 54-year-old Gerald Melton was just trying to get some sleep on the night of August 26th when Katie Quackenbush parked next to him in her SUV, spraying him with exhaust fumes and playing loud music. He got up to give her a piece of his mind, and the woman got out of her Porsche SUV to exchange some heated words with the homeless man she’d disturbed.
Then Quackenbush went back to her car, pulled out a handgun, and shot Melton in the abdomen. She left him bleeding on the pavement as she drove off into the night.
Now, Melton is fighting for his life and is in critical condition.
The question we’re all asking is how could anyone be so cruel as to shoot a homeless man who’s just trying to get whatever sleep they can on the cold pavement? Well, according to her attorney, things may not be as clear-cut as that.
Here’s 15 things you need to know about this terrible shooting that has swept headlines nationwide.
15. She’s An Aspiring Singer
The name Katie Quackenbush isn’t exactly made for the music industry. That’s why she posts her music on iTunes and YouTube under the stage name Katie Layne. Her style seems to be a sort of honky-tonk garage rock, and she has a whopping 326 subscribers according to her YouTube profile.
Most of her videos only have a few thousand views, but her latest song, “Outlaw Love”, has well over 130,000, which might have something to do with the high profile crime she’s been charged with. The description of the video seems to make it clear that someone is aware of this sudden surge in viewers, as it reads: “MEDIA LIES – SO MANY FACTS ABOUT THE CASE NOT BEING SHOWN ON MEDIA.”
14. Shots To The Stomach Are Notoriously Painful, And Fatal
Melton was unfortunately shot in the abdomen, which is one of the worst places you can get hit.
To be fair, there are really very few places that are good to be shot, but the stomach and lower abdomen are one of the worst. There are tons of important organs there you really don’t want to do without, but worst of all is the presence of your gut, and by that I mean your large intestines.
The large intestines are the part of your digestive tract that food goes to right before it gets excreted. It’s full of bacteria that are normally helpful where they are, but if they get out (say, due to a bullet hole) then they can cause almost immediate infection, leading to death.
13. She Posted $25,000 Bond To Get Out Of Jail
$25,000 is a pretty hefty fee to not spend your time in the big-house waiting for a trial, and it likely had something to do with the fact she had a previous criminal record and her current crime was particularly violent.
It’s also terribly unlikely she had a $25,000 cheque burning a hole in her pocket and was able to post bail herself. More likely she turned to friends or family who might have been able to help with that, or she went to old American institution, the bail bonds lender.
For a nominal fee, you can have the amount of your bond loaned to you until you’re either found guilty or innocent at trial. But don’t forget who you owe, as bail bond lenders are notorious for hiring bounty hunters for unpaid debts.
12. Father Says It Was In Self-Defense
After news of the attempted murder charge broke, Katie’s father, Jesse Quackenbush, was quick to get on stage and make a statement to the media that the attempted murder charge was unwarranted because she had been acting in self-defense.
According to him, Katie was terrified that this big, scary homeless guy was rising up from the dark alleys of the street to accost her. “She didn’t try and kill this guy,” said Jesse after his daughter was arrested. “She had no intention of killing him. She didn’t know that she hit him.”
11. Not Her First Booking For A Crime
Katie has been involved in two prior assault charges, one of which was dropped, and the other is still pending in Texas.
The first assault happened in December, where she was charged with misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury after throwing a glass of water at a woman. According to Katie’s father, she threw the glass at her ex-husband’s new girlfriend “because of some insulting remarks”.
The second assault happened four years ago. Court records in Randall County reveal that Katie was arrested and held on a $10,000 bond, but the case was later dismissed after charges were dropped. The person she assaulted? Her own mother.
10. She’s A Single Mom
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Quackenbush is a mother of a 5-year-old son who she’s raising alone after having divorced her previous husband.
It’s widely held in the United States that the chance of any marriage succeeding for life is around 50%. It’s a hotly debated topic among social psychologists and statisticians as double and triple divorcees tend to skew the scale further towards the 50% number. However, recently it seems that America has finally hit its peak in terms of divorce rates and have seen the number divorces fall. Many experts think that the reason for the change is that as cohabitation becomes less stigmatized people are simply moving in without marrying, and leave if the relationship goes south.
9. Her Dad’s A Big Shot Defence Attorney
Katie’s father, Jesse Quackenbush, is a well-known defense attorney in Amarillo, Texas. According to his website, he takes all kinds of cases, from DUIs to First Degree Murder, and most of his cases end in a settlement.
One of the more high-profile cases he’ll be litigating is a lawsuit against Goodwill Industries after a former employee was raped while working in their store. The suit is asking for $50 million after the employee then became pregnant and gave birth to a premature 2.2-pound baby.
Judging by his past cases Goodwill will likely settle for far less than $50 million. That said, the father Quackenbush is certainly a lawyer who knows what he’s doing, and likely counselled her daughter on what to do following the shooting.
8. Attorney Says She Felt “Imminent Peril”
Although the shooting took place on August 26, police wouldn’t hear from Quackenbush until her lawyer, Peter Strianse, contacted the district attorney’s office the following Monday. The prosecutor’s office then relayed information to police about Quackenbush’s involvement in the shooting.
According to Strianse, Katie acted entirely out of fear. “I think she felt threatened because she was threatened,” Strianse said to media. “She was dealing with somebody that came out of an extremely dark street in the early morning hours who comes out of nowhere and is banging violently on the car window. Somebody who appears to be either deranged, somebody who may be on some sort of drug, who seems completely unhinged, and that’s why she reacted the way that she did.”
7. Homeless Man Taken To Vanderbilt University Medical Center
The Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a collection of several buildings attached to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2014 it was ranked the leading hospital in Tennessee, garnered accolades for being a fantastic teaching hospital, and world renown for groundbreaking efforts in electronic medical records.
But it’s also not without its controversies. In March 2014, the federal government sued the hospital alleging that doctors had been defrauding Medicare for years. In May 2015 the hospital was ordered to pay $400,000 to 200 laid off workers for having allegedly provided inadequate notice. And several published papers from the university were taken down after one of its scientists falsified 6 years worth of data in research studies.
6. She Was Driving A Porsche Cayenne SUV
As far as SUVs go, the Porsche Cayenne is not a bad one to get into. The base model comes with a nearly 300 hp engine and has a 0-60 time of just over seven seconds. That’s not bad for a multi-ton SUV.
The 2011 models can even come with a hybrid option, giving it a fantastic 47 miles to the gallon. That’s practically unheard of in an SUV and puts it in the same category for environmental friendliness as the Prius and Tesla.
5. She Fired Two Shots
Quackenbush fired two shots when she allegedly defended herself from Melton, with at least one bullet striking him in the abdomen. During self-defense courses, they typically treat you to fire using the tried, tested, and true “double-tap” method to make sure your assailant goes down.
The double-tap originally came about in the 1930s, when most police forces were using particularly small caliber bullets and found that single shots weren’t putting suspects down. Thus, the double-tap method was born to simply put more bullets in their target.
4. She Never Told Police About Shots Fired
One thing you should always do after firing your gun in self-defense is to tell the police. Firing a gun is loud and people will notice no matter where you are, so if you had to scare someone off it pays to tell the fuzz why you had to pop a few off.
Quackenbush didn’t do that and instead fled the scene. That’s a big no-no when it comes to mounting a self-defense argument, as you usually want to involve the police as soon as possible if you were attacked.
3. Another Attorney Claims To Have Video Footage Of The Shooting
Strianse also said that another local attorney, Brian Manookian, read about the attempted murder charge and contacted him about the possibility he might have surveillance camera footage of the shooting.
Manookian’s office is close to where the shots were fired near 901 19th Ave. South near Music Row, and had recently installed cameras because Melton had accosted employees “in this same menacing and threatening way” for nearly a year.
That said, all requests to see the video footage of the night in question haven’t been answered. It could be that they’re saving it for the inevitable court date, or it could be that the footage doesn’t exist. We’ll have to wait and find out.
2. Homeless Man Was Unarmed
Whether or not Melton acted aggressively towards Quackenbush, one thing is abundantly clear: Melton was unarmed when Katie went to her car to get her gun and shoot him.
The unfortunate truth about owning a gun is that it immediately escalates a situation to become deadly. A heated argument with a friend, a momentary spike of rage, and suddenly the argument turns into a homicide. Even in self-defense, a gun makes it all too easy to overestimate your assailant’s power and opt for the lethal force of a firearm.
American police forces have been under intense scrutiny for the past few years over the multiple deaths of unarmed men, so even with intense training, it can be easy to think that a gun is the only solution.
1. She Had A Passenger In Her Car
Quackenbush wasn’t alone in the car the night of the shooting. She had a girlfriend there with her, and now she’s being touted as an eye witness.
“She’s never done anything like this in her life. She had an eyewitness in the front seat,” said Katie’s father. The identity of the friend is still unknown and she hasn’t released any statement to the media regarding the events of the attempted murder.
It is, however, awfully suspicious that she didn’t come forward to speak to police after watching Katie gun down a homeless man. As much as I like my friends, I don’t expect them to try and help me stick out a murder charge. Whoever this person is, she must be some friend to stick by her BFF.
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