A Tennessee woman arrested Monday for allegedly shooting a homeless man after he asked her to move her Porsche from his sleeping area has a violent past.
Katie Layne Quackenbush is accused of shooting Gerald Melton on Aug. 26 after the two argued over where she parked in Nashville. Melton had been sleeping on a sidewalk when he “became disturbed by exhaust fumes and loud music” from Quackenbush’s car at 3 a.m., according to Nashville police. The two allegedly began arguing when Melton asked that the vehicle be moved.
Melton left the area and did not block Quackenbush from leaving, according to the police affidavit. The two began arguing again when he returned to the spot where he had been trying to sleep, police said. This time Quackenbush allegedly got out of her car with a gun and fired two shots before getting back in her car and leaving.
Melton, 54, remains hospitalized after being shot twice in the abdomen.
This isn’t Quackenbush’s first run-in with the law. Quackenbush was arrested on misdemeanor domestic violence-related assault charges in Texas in 2013 that were later dismissed. Quackenbush was arrested last December for striking a woman in the head with a drinking glass and charged with misdemeanor assault, according to court documents.
Quackenbush’s father, Jesse Quackenbush told The Daily Beast that she was acting in self defense after Melton “accosted” his daughter and her friend and threatened to kill them.
“What you have here is a 26-year old woman whose life is basically ruined on an international basis because of knee jerk and hillbilly cops in Nashville that rush to judgement before they even complete their investigation,” he said.
Quackenbush had been out with a friend in downtown Nashville, who was an “eyewitness to this event,” Jesse said. Since the friend’s car was parked about six blocks away from the club they were at, Quackenbush offered to drop the friend off at her car.
They continued to talk in Quackenbush’s car when Melton began “screaming and yelling” explicit threats “at the top of his lungs” and threatened to kill the two women, Jesse said. Melton then allegedly walked away to begin yelling at another group of girls nearby.
After Melton walked away, Jesse said his daughter took out her gun to escort the friend to her car. When Quackenbush walked around her car Melton allegedly began to “accost” her again. She then told Melton twice that she had a gun and to stay away.
“He kept coming at her and increasing the volume of his voice and she thought what she thought was a warning shot would make him run away,” Jesse said. “She purposefully aimed away from him but unfortunately she hit him. And he kept coming so she shot again, again a warning shot, down at a downward trajectory and thinking that would scare him away.”
Jesse said his daughter “closed her eyes when she shot both times.”
Melton allegedly continued to come at the Quackenbush so she got back inside her car and drove away. He said his daughter turned herself in and has been cooperating with police since the incident.
“She was merely trying to defend herself,” Jesse said. “She wasn’t trying to hurt anyone to begin with, especially not trying to kill someone.”
Jesse said Quackenbush is the single mother of a 5-year old son and moved to Nashville to launch her career as a musician.