05.01.2017

Shots fired in Quartier: eighteen months jail sentence for the perpetrator

The perpetrator of the shots fired on December 31 in French Quarter was sentenced on Wednesday, January 4 by the criminal court of Saint-Martin.

He believed that someone wanted to kill him. Returning home on Saturday, December 31 slightly before 11:00 PM, he noticed a black car with tinted windows. One of the windows was down. He guessed that its occupant was waiting for him. So he went up to his room and grabbed his 9 millimeter pistol, hidden under the blankets on his bed.

His mother, whom he has always lived with, heard him talking to himself. She understood right away that her son was drunk. He reliably behaves this way when he drinks too much. "When he is sober, he is very kind. But when he is drunk, he is crazy. He is more than crazy," she told the gendarmes.

Her son, now thirty years old, has had problems with alcohol since the age of fifteen. To the point that he suffers from pancreatitis and is undergoing a significant medical treatment.

On Saturday, December 31, the young man had a blood alcohol content of 1.11 mg of alcohol, which made him lose his sense of reason. Believing that someone wanted to kill him – he claims to "have problems with people" – he drew his pistol and fired. At first in the living room of the apartment. His mother, in an adjoining room, first thought she heard firecrackers before realizing that it was her son. As soon as he left the apartment, she locked herself in and called her other son, who joined her a few minutes later.

Outside, her first son continued to shoot. The gendarmes observed impacts everywhere and found casings at the base of the building, in the stairwell, and on the residence’s parking lot. The weapon was recovered on the landing.

Outside in the parking lot was a young mother with a friend. She also thought she heard firecrackers at first. A bullet hit the bumper of her car and punctured a tire. The driver fled and drove, with the flat tire, around a hundred meters. Her four-year-old daughter was in the back seat.

A MIRACLE

The individual appeared this Wednesday before the Saint-Martin criminal court for a summary trial. "When I took over the investigation on Monday morning, the first thing I told myself was that it was a miracle no one was hurt," commented Deputy Prosecutor Michaël Ohayon at the hearing. And he noted that the shots fired, particularly from the living room, were "at human height." "They were not fired into the air."

"This warrants a prison sentence," argued the Deputy Prosecutor, who requested that the defendant "remain in prison." For the record, after his initial custody, he was placed in temporary detention on Tuesday. The prosecutor recommended a sentence of 3 years in prison including one year of suspension and two years of probation with the obligation to receive treatment. He also recommended a prohibition to carry a weapon for five years and the confiscation of his pistol.

After deliberating, the court sentenced the defendant to three years of imprisonment, including eighteen months of suspension and two years of probation with the obligation to receive treatment. It also requested a detention warrant, the prohibition to carry a weapon for five years.

Beginning on January 12, the defendant must wear an electronic bracelet following a prior conviction. He had been prosecuted for abuse of his spouse and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Estelle Gasnet

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