Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A Nashville woman is charged with attempted murder after she shot a homeless man who asked her to move her Porsche SUV from near his bed for the night, police said.
Aspiring singer-songwriter Katie Quackenbush, 26, was arrested Monday in connection with the Aug. 26 shooting, which critically injured the victim, Nashville Metro Police officials said in a news release.
The victim, Gerald Melton, 54, remained hospitalized in stable condition Tuesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Police officials said the investigation showed that Melton was trying to sleep on a sidewalk on 19th Avenue South, near Music Row, around 3 a.m. Aug. 26 when he was disturbed by exhaust fumes and loud music coming from the Porsche SUV that Quackenbush had parked nearby.
When Melton asked Quackenbush to move the vehicle, they began arguing, police said. Melton told investigators that he started walking back to where he was trying to sleep.
Quackenbush is accused of getting out of the SUV with a gun and, as the argument continued, firing two shots at Melton, hitting him in the abdomen. She then allegedly got back in the vehicle and fled.
Like Quackenbush, Melton is a skilled singer and guitarist. The Washington Post spoke with one manager, Sharon Corbitt-House, who tried to help Melton get off the street when she discovered how talented he is.
A YouTube video shows Melton, who also goes by the name Doug Melton, strumming a guitar and singing.
She appears to speak to the public about the shooting in the blurb below the video.
“Media lies, so many facts about the case not being shown on media,” the blurb reads. “Instead of judging, how about you look into more information. I’m not a bad person.”
Quackenbush’s father, a prominent defense lawyer in Amarillo, Texas, told WSMV in Nashville that the police have told only part of the story.
“It’s been self-defense since day one, and the police have known this,” Jesse Quackenbush told the news station.
Jesse Quackenbush said that his daughter, who moved to Nashville a few years ago to pursue a music career, pulled up at the scene to drop a friend off at her car. Melton was already arguing with another group of women when they got there, Quackenbush said.
He said his daughter got out of her SUV with her gun to escort her friend back to her own vehicle, and that both women were afraid of Melton because the homeless man was yelling profanities and threats, WSMV reported.
“She did give a warning shot, not knowing that it hit him, and she’s being painted as this merciless person that would just leave someone dying on the street, when it’s just not the case,” Jesse Quackenbush said. “Had she known he had been struck, she would have called the police immediately.”
Quackenbush said his daughter and her friend drove to a restaurant, not knowing that Melton had been injured, the news station reported. They returned to her friend’s car to find the area blocked off with crime scene tape.
He said that his daughter learned later that morning that police were looking for two blonde women who had been in the area. Only then did she realize her warning shot might have hit Melton, Quackenbush said.
“My daughter immediately attempted to contact authorities to let them know who she was, to identify herself,” he told WSMV.
The news station reported, however, that Monday’s arrest was not the first for Katie Quackenbush. She was arrested for assault in 2013 in Amarillo.
Jesse Quackenbush said her record was cleared when that charge was dismissed.
Katie Quackenbush still has a pending misdemeanor assault charge in Potter County, Texas, from last year, WSMV reported.
Melton has an arrest for trespassing on his record, the news station reported. Some residents in the area of the shooting told WSMV that he has been aggressive with residents in the past.
Advocates for the homeless have spoken out about the “disturbing” nature of the incident. Lindsey Krinks of Open Table Nashville told WSMV that other homeless people in the city are “shaken up” by Melton’s shooting.
“People living on the streets are just like you and me, but there are also incredible histories of trauma and abuse in their backgrounds,” Krinks said.
Katie Quackenbush was released from jail after posting $25,000 bond.