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Army Veteran Charged with Attacking 2 Homeless Men in Memphis

By meerna Jul11,2024
Army Veteran Charged with Attacking 2 Homeless Men in Memphis

The attacks occurred less than a week apart at the same Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Memphis. Army veteran Karl Loucks, who served in Afghanistan, was identified by witnesses as the attacker in both cases.

A Tennessee Army veteran has been charged with first-degree murder and assault in what authorities say are two separate attacks on homeless men that occurred less than a week ago.

The latest attack occurred just before 3 a.m. May 31, when police responding to a 911 call found a man with gunshot wounds outside a Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Memphis. The man, identified as Shaun Rhea, died at the hospital, according to court documents obtained by USA TODAY on Wednesday.

The first attack came just six days before Rhea was murdered at the same hotel on May 25. A man told police he was in a portable bathroom outside the hotel where he sleeps every day when the attacker grabbed him, put a knife to his face and cut him behind his left ear as he tried to escape. The attacker also cut his right thumb.

Here’s what we know about the crimes and the veteran who was charged Tuesday.

Killing Shaun Rhea

A security guard told police he saw a man with a knife pepper-spraying Rhea the day of the fatal shooting. The security guard recorded the attack on his phone and told the attacker what he was doing, hoping he would leave, court records say.

The assailant ran into the apartment, allowing Rhea to wash the spray off her face. But a short time later, the assailant returned with a rifle and shot Rhea multiple times, court records say.

Investigators checked mailboxes at the apartment building where the gunman was last seen and found the name Karl Loucks. A security guard looked at the group of six and identified Loucks as the man who shot Rhea.

That same day, 41-year-old Loucks was arrested.

During Tuesday’s court hearing, Memphis Police Sergeant Jeremy Cline said Loucks was questioned after his arrest and told investigators he acted in self-defense, according to WTVC-TV.

“Shaun Rhea was unarmed at the time of the assault,” court documents say.

Loucks’ attorney, Blake Ballin, declined to comment on the case when contacted by USA TODAY on Wednesday.

First attack on a homeless person

During the attack on the homeless man on May 25, the attacker also fled into an apartment complex.

The victim received stitches at a local hospital. He later told police he did not know his attacker.

After Loucks was arrested for Rhea’s murder, the May 25 victim identified Loucks as the man who attacked her.

Who is Karl Loucks?

Loucks is a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Afghan War, Army spokesman Bryce Dubee told WTVC-TV. He was an Army health specialist from September 2007 to August 2013 and served in Afghanistan from March 2009 to March 2010, the station reported.

Loucks left the Army as a private and was honorably discharged due to post-traumatic stress disorder, his lawyer said.

Ballin, Loucks’ attorney, told WTVC he is trying to schedule a psychological evaluation to see if Loucks’ mental state had anything to do with the shooting.

“If someone in Mr. Loucks’ situation, with his past experiences, his experience with these events, had a reasonable fear that he was afraid for his life or physical safety, then he may have been right to act that way,” Loucks’ lawyer told the news agency.

Shelby County Judge Bill Anderson, who is overseeing the case, said Loucks’ past in the military may have played a role in what happened.

“Some cases just don’t make any sense, no logical sense,” Anderson said. “This is one of them.”

Saleen Martin is a reporter on the NOW team at USA TODAY. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – 757. Follow her on Twitter at @SaleenMartin or write to her e-mail address [email protected].

By meerna

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