It was the early hours of August 26, 2017, when a 26-year-old woman and a homeless man got into a violent confrontation after the man asked the woman to move her Porsche.
According to reports, 54-year-old Gerald Melton, a homeless man, had been attempting to sleep on the sidewalk near Nashville’s Music Row when he was disrupted by the smell of exhaust fumes and loud music from a Porsche SUV belonging to Katie Quackenbush. Melton asked Quackenbush to move the vehicle, which erupted into a shouting match. Melton told police that after he and Quackenbush got into the verbal confrontation he walked back to the area he had been sleeping when Quackenbush produced a gun. The woman shot twice, hitting Melton in the stomach, before speeding off with another woman.
In response to the allegations, Quackenbush’s father, Jesse Quackenbush, told Nashville’s NBC affiliate that Melton’s statement to police varied wildly from the events that had actually transpired.
According to Quakenbush, his daughter had actually shot the man in self-defense after Melton approached the vehicle and began “verbally accosting” both his daughter and another woman who had been with her at the time. Quakenbush also alleges that it was Melton who became violent, banging on the windows and threatening to kill the women unless they turned the music down. Katie Quakenbush, afraid for her life, told the man that she had a gun and yelled for him to get away from her before firing a “warning shot.” After the first shot, Quakenbush claims the man continued to come towards the vehicle, causing his daughter to close her eyes and shoot again before fleeing the scene. Quakenbush claims neither woman had any idea the man was hit until they reported the incident to police shortly after they fled.
Katie Quackenbush’s defense attorney, Peter Strianse, told the Tennesean, “She was dealing with somebody that came out of an extremely dark street in the early morning hours who comes out of nowhere and is banging violently on the car window. Somebody who appears to be either deranged, somebody who may be on some sort of drug, who seems completely unhinged, and that’s why she reacted the way that she did.”
Police say that neither woman had reported the incident. In fact, it was another person who had found Melton and called 911. The police had not been contacted at all by Quakenbush until her attorney contacted the prosecutor’s office the following week.
Quackenbush has been charged with attempted murder. The case, which has spurred outrage by advocates for the homeless on social media, is still pending. Melton sustained critical injuries during the shooting and remains hospitalized.