A woman charged Monday night in the attempted killing of a homeless man had fired two warning shots, her father said, after the man had threatened to harm her.
Katie Layne Quackenbush, 26, has been charged with attempted murder for the Aug. 26 shooting of 54-year-old Gerald Melton, who remains hospitalized at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with critical injuries.
She was booked into jail around 6 p.m. Monday and given a $25,000 bond.
Metro police detectives say that Melton was “trying to sleep on the sidewalk” around 3 a.m. near 901 19th Ave. South near Music Row when he “became disturbed by exhaust fumes and loud music coming from a Porsche SUV,” according to a news release.
Melton reportedly asked Quackenbush, the driver of the Porsche, to move the vehicle. The two then began yelling at each other.
Police say that after Melton walked back to where he had been trying to sleep, Quackenbush got out of her vehicle with a gun and the argument continued. She allegedly fired two shots at Melton, who was wounded in the abdomen.
Melton reported that the shooter got back into the Porsche and left the scene.
Father of suspect: Homeless man threatened daughter
Jesse Quackenbush, Katie’s father, tells the story of the shooting differently.
An attorney in Texas, Jesse said his daughter and her friend were being accosted by Melton, whom he alleged approached the Porsche as the women sat inside, threatening to kill them and making explicit and sexist remarks at Quackenbush.
“She didn’t try and kill this guy,” Jesse Quackenbush said Monday night, a few hours after his daughter was arrested on the charge. “She had no intention of killing him. She didn’t know that she hit him.”
Katie Quackenbush, a single mother to a 5-year-old boy, had driven a friend back to her car when the women reportedly saw Melton harassing other women in the street nearby, Jesse said.
Melton then approached Quackenbush and her friend in the vehicle.
“He comes up to their window and starts screaming in their window various threats, and something about turning their music down and that he couldn’t sleep,” Jesse said.
After the man walked away, Katie Quackenbush got out of her car to escort her friend to a vehicle parked close by. She grabbed her gun and put a magazine inside.
Melton allegedly began walking toward her again, Jesse said, at which time his daughter told Melton she had a gun.
She fired two “warning shots” and then left, because Melton reportedly continued to approach the women.
“She did say she closed her eyes when she shot both times, but they were warnings, and she thought she pointed away from him,” Jesse recalled.
When asked whether his daughter heard Melton scream or indicate he had been shot, Jesse Quackenbush said there was no indication he was injured.
Suspect has cooperated with police, father says
The women left, deciding to go to a restaurant and come back later to deliver the passenger to her vehicle.
When they returned, Quackenbush’s friend’s car was surrounded by crime scene tape.
Jesse said his daughter obtained an attorney and eventually turned herself in for questioning by police.
He maintains she was wrongfully charged because she was defending herself from Melton.
“She has a son,” Jesse Quackenbush said. “She’s never done anything like this in her life. She had an eyewitness in the front seat.”
Metro police weren’t immediately available for comment late Monday night regarding allegations that Melton had threatened Quackenbush’s life.
She is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 6.