NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The attorney for a Central City homeowner says his client was "absolutely justified in using non-lethal force to protect his family" when he shot a man Tuesday.
Attorney J. Thomas Beasley is representing Luiz De Lima, who is charged with aggravated battery. New Orleans police say De Lima shot a man in the buttocks and both legs near De Lima's his home on Louisiana Avenue.
The police report says De Lima's wife told officers that the couple pulled up to the house and saw a man enter the alleyway next door. She then said her husband followed the man down the alley because he suspected the man was responsible for two recent break-ins where tools, copper wiring and copper piping were stolen from the home.
De Lima's wife told police her husband confronted the man near the back of their property, and then she heard gunshots.
"His property had been burglarized several times in the past few weeks," Beasley said. "An unknown perpetrator attempted to gain entrance to the property while Mr. De Lima was present with his wife. Mr. De Lima, who has no criminal history and is a pillar of the community, believed that the perpetrator was armed and dangerous, and he reasonably feared for his and his wife's safety."
The victim told police he was only urinating in the yard.
Prosecutors say he was off of De Lima's property and running away when De Lima opened fire.
"I don't think the guy ever was in the house, so he's got a big problem," FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said. "It's understandable to be angry. He'd been burglarized, but unfortunately for him, it doesn't give him the right to arbitrarily take the law into his own hands and say, 'I think that's the guy who burglarized me last weekend and I'm going to chase him and shoot him in the butt as he's running away.' It doesn't work that way."
A witness told police that after he heard the initial gunshots, he ran down the street and saw the De Lima standing over the man. The witness said De Lima then shot toward the man two more times and kicked the man several times in the face and in the side.
Neither the man who was shot nor De Lima's wife told police that De Lima shot at the man near his steps or kicked him.
The report goes on to say De Lima asked his wife for another magazine and reloaded his gun until police arrived.
"You can't shoot somebody unless you think they are breaking into your house or threatening to kill you or someone else. That's the basics of it," Raspanti said. "You've really got to think about things before you start shooting at someone who is running away from you. Here's a tip: If you see the back of their head, don't shoot at them."
"Mr. De Lima acted reasonably at all stages," Beasley said. "We feel that once all the evidence has been reviewed and everyone has a chance to examine the facts and circumstances, it will be clear that Mr. De Lima is innocent of any wrongdoing."