82-year-old arrested for shooting burglar
Cops say he wasn't threatened
Theodore Vinnett, of 225 First St. in St. Rose, told authorities that around 2:10 a.m. on Sept. 17 he heard a noise outside. He said that he opened a window and fired a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with bird shot toward the ground near Morris Paul Jr., 39, of 364 Second St. in St. Rose.
Paul was allegedly trying to steal metal from Vinnett’s carport. Pellets from the shotgun struck Paul in the ankle.
Vinnett told authorities that he was attempting to scare the would-be thief and did not realize he had shot the man until police came to arrest him.
Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange of the Sheriff’s Office said that Vinnett admitted to authorities that he did not feel threatened by Paul when he shot at him. LaGrange said the shooting would have been justified if Vinnett had felt that his life was in danger.
“(Vinnett) admitted to authorities that the victim did not have a weapon in his hand and did not come forward in an aggressive move towards him,” LaGrange said. “You do not have the right to use deadly force if your life is not in danger.”
Vinnett was arrested and charged with aggravated battery after failing to report the incident to authorities.
Paul also did not report the incident, but was treated for his injury at Ochsner Hospital in Kenner which led authorities to Vinnett.
Paul was arrested later that day and charged with theft under $300.
Vinnett was released Friday on a personal surety to his family.
“The judge was confident enough to release (Vinnett) under somebody else’s care,” LaGrange said.
Paul was released on Saturday after posting $280 cash.
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