Woman charged with shooting homeless man has arrest history

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A 26-year-old Tennessee woman accused of attempting to murder a homeless man did not initially report the incident to authorities and has twice been accused of assault in separate incidents.

Authorities on Monday charged 26-year-old Katie Quackenbush with attempted murder for shooting Gerald Melton, the Metropolitan Nashville Police said.

Melton was sleeping on the sidewalk near Music Row in the early hours of Aug. 26 when he “became disturbed by exhaust fumes and loud music” coming from a Porsche being driven by the suspect.

An exchange between the pair quickly escalated and culminated in Quackenbush firing off her gun twice — her attorney and father maintain they were meant to be warning shots and that she was simply defending herself after Melton threatened her.

The 54-year-old shooting victim was struck in the abdomen and remained hospitalized at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center with critical injuries Wednesday.

Metro police spokesman Don Aaron told the Tennessean Quackenbush did not report the incident to authorities until a week later, when her attorney contacted investigators.

Katie Quackenbush arrested for allegedly shooting a homeless man, Gerald Melton, in Nashville, Tennessee on August 26, 2017.

Katie Quackenbush arrested for allegedly shooting a homeless man, Gerald Melton, in Nashville, Tennessee on August 26, 2017.

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A third party spotted Melton suffering with gunshot wounds and phoned for help. Quackenbush and her friend had left the scene, allegedly unaware the man had been shot, her father Jesse Quackenbush said.

“Later that morning, or the next day, they learn that people are looking for two blondes in that vicinity and that’s when they pieced together that this gentleman might have been hit by what was intended to be warning shots,” Jesse Quackenbush told WSMV. “My daughter immediately attempted to contact authorities to identify herself.”

This isn’t Quackenbush’s first brush with the law. She was arrested for assault in her Texas hometown in 2013, though the charges were ultimately dismissed. In December, the 26-year-old aspiring singer and songwriter was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and causing bodily injury in Potter County, Texas.

According to a complaint, Quackenbush stands accused of hitting another woman in the head with a drinking glass. Her father said Tuesday she was charged after “throwing a glass of water” in the face of her ex-husband’s girlfriend “because of some insulting remarks.”

When asked about the arrests, her attorney, Peter Strianse said he didn’t believe Quackenbush was a violent person.

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“I think that’s really overblown,” he said, emphasizing that his client felt she was in “imminent peril” in the August incident.

He said Quackenbush’s decision to discharge her weapon was justified by Melton’s allegedly threatening behavior.

“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,” he said. “Someone who appears to be either deranged, someone who may be on some sort of drug, who seems completely unhinged, and that’s why she reacted the way she did.”

He also said there may be surveillance video of the altercation.

Quackenbush has since been released from jail after posting a $25,000 bond.

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