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Police: 'Erratic man' was high on cough medicine before homeowner shot him

Seth Flores, 22 (STPSO) Seth Flores, 22 (STPSO)
SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) -

Detectives with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Department have not charged a homeowner who fatally shot a man who was acting erratically on his property.

The incident occurred just after midnight Tuesday in the 2100 block of Robin Street in Slidell. 

Police say that the homeowner, identified as 24-year-old Shane Hicks, told investigators that he was in his home when he heard a noise in his front yard and went to investigate, armed with a pistol. The homeowner saw a man, later identified as 22-year-old Seth Flores, shouting and hitting his car.

“Flores was acting very erratic in an erratic manner and making irrational statements to Mr. Hicks including saying he was invincible,” Sheriff Randy Smith said.

Flores began making his way towards Hicks who began to retreat.

“Flores continued to yell at Hicks and follow him until Hicks' back was literally backed up against his front door on the front porch of his residence,” Sheriff Smith said.

As Hicks backed up against his front door, Flores began lunging towards him.

Hicks, who investigators said feared for his safety and for the safety of his family, shot Flores once, but Flores continued to lunge at Hicks and attempted to grab his weapon, according to deputies.

Hicks fired his gun at least five more times, killing Flores on his front porch and then immediately called 911, according to Sheriff Smith.

According to police, Hicks, who has no criminal history, was cooperative with investigators.

Detectives learned that ten minutes prior to the shooting, Flores was involved in an incident with his girlfriend at her house, located two blocks away from the scene.

“He was a good person just very misguided you know we had a misunderstanding he took off out the door and that's all she wrote and next thing you know I'm hearing gunshots,” Kirsta Viering, Flores’ fiancé, said.

Viering told investigators that Flores consumed an excessive amount of "Triple C" cold medicine, which is known to cause hallucinogenic effects.

“In high doses, it's a dissociative hallucinogen. I liken it to lights on nobody home. So he's alert, he's breathing, but he's not fully functioning cognitively,” said Dr. Charles Preston, St. Tammany Parish Coroner.

Viering added that Flores became irate and began attacking her and her mother, prompting a call to 911. During the call, Flores ran from the girlfriend's house to Hicks's house.

Detectives are unsure as to why Flores fled to that location as the two men did not know each other.

FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti said with one witness, Hicks, investigators use evidence to corroborate the story.

“Does that story match up with the physical evidence and other evidence they can gather to see if he is telling the truth and if he is then you go back to was it reasonable for him to shoot this man,” Raspanti said.

Dr. Preston said the autopsy showed evidence consistent with Hicks’ story, including the fact that Flores was leaning forward when he was shot.

“There were four wounds that demonstrated stippling around them, which would indicate shots had been fired from three feet or less from him, which is consistent with the history that we obtained. He had five exit wounds in the back. There were no entrance wounds to the back whatsoever,” Dr. Preston said.

Viering contends the shooting was not warranted.

“He should've known firing more than a couple of times is overkill. That's just wrong. He could've just shot him in the damn knee for all I care, at least we know he couldn't walk,” Viering said.

However, Raspanti thinks, in this case, Hicks’ may only have to prove he was trying to protect his home and his life.

“Ultimately, the question is was it reasonable for the shooter to believe that this guy was going to do him great bodily harm or was attempting to unlawfully enter his house,” Raspanti said.

Flores has a criminal history including narcotics, resisting an officer, flight from an officer, simple battery, burglary, and theft.

Investigators say that, at this point, no charges have been filed against Hicks. STPSO detectives will turn their findings over to the District Attorney's Office, once they wrap their investigation.  

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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