NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The family of a Louisiana Tech University student claims the 18-year-old shot and killed another man on Mardi Gras to protect himself and his family.
While he's now charged with second-degree murder, his attorney believes police failed to properly investigate the shooting.
I would have done the same damn thing and I'm not about to sugarcoat nothing," said Brenton Coleman, father of the accused shooter.
Emotional, the family of Eddie Dingle defend his actions on Mardi Gras, when police say Dingle shot and killed Maurice Williams.
"The thug lost. The tough guy lost because he decided to challenge a family who had someone with them who believed in protecting himself and was carrying a weapon," said Dingle's attorney Lionel Lon Burns.
His family was there, along the parade route, at St. Charles and Second when Dingle's father says one of his sons confronted another parade-goer about an incident several days prior. That's when his father says the other man became violent, striking his son. He says his other son, Eddie Dingle, saw what happened and while trying to calm the situation, was struck with a pipe wrench.
Yet, it didn't end there.
"I see the victim, may he rest in peace, pulling off his jacket very aggressively like he's about to fight someone," recalled Coleman.
Dingle's father says, from there, Maurice Williams took off towards his wife and son.
"And, at that point, I heard two gunshots," said Coleman. "My condolences to his family but he was in the wrong. He was definitely in the wrong. My son was fearing for his life."
Dingle's attorney insists the shooting was justified self-defense and that police failed to properly investigate it, in part, by not interviewing Dingle's family as witnesses.
"It seems as though the police don't understand the basic law of self-defense," Burns said.
Yet, the NOPD has still charged Dingle with second degree murder and insists no one should have a gun on the parade route.
"We've sent out a strong message, don't bring guns to parades, they don't mix. Don't bring guns to areas you're drinking, it's a bad combination," said NOPD Chief Michael Harrison.
But Dingle's attorney argues people like his client carry weapons because police aren't always there to protect them.
"If thugs in this city continue to terrorize families, there are going to be a lot more cases like this because people are sick and tired of it," Burns said.
FOX 8 reached out to NOPD representatives for comment in response to the family's claims of self-defense, but they have yet to respond.
Burns says he hopes to eventually see Dingle's case dismissed.