The man police accuse of shooting and attempting to murder a Tulane Medical School student who had tried to keep him from robbing a woman last week appeared in court for the first time Tuesday, looking stone-faced and impassive as a magistrate ordered that he be held without bail.
Police say that Euric Cain, 21, shot and seriously wounded Peter Gold as Gold attempted to stop an armed robbery near the corner of Magazine and St. Mary streets.
The incident stood out among the hundreds of shootings that take place every year in New Orleans because of surveillance footage that captured a man calmly taking aim as Gold lay crumpled on the ground, stopped from killing him at close range only because the gun jammed several times.
Gold’s family said in a statement released by Tulane on Tuesday that his condition has “progressively improved.”
In his first appearance since his arrest Monday, Cain showed little emotion and spoke only to confirm that he was unemployed.
A judge also ordered Cain’s 17-year-old girlfriend, Nictoria Washington, held on $100,000 bail. Washington faces a single count of serving as an accessory after the fact to armed robbery. She was found in the same house in Central City where police caught up with Cain.
Tuesday’s hearing also provided new details about the shooting. Assistant District Attorney Michael Henn said Cain spotted the female victim as she walked down Magazine Street about 4 a.m. Friday and approached her only when he saw her stumbling as she crossed St. Mary Street.
Henn said a surveillance video shows Cain walking over to the unidentified woman and at first attempting to help her up. He then pushes the woman to the ground, snatches her purse and tries to drag her to a gray Ford Expedition SUV.
Only then, police said in a warrant, did Gold arrive and intervene. Police said Cain shot Gold once in the abdomen and attempted to shoot him twice more in the head, but the gun jammed.
Gold was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
“Peter has progressively improved and is now in stable condition,” the statement said. “The Gold family is very grateful for the care Peter is receiving at University Medical Center New Orleans. We ask that everyone continue to respect our family’s need for privacy during this time.”
Henn said that detectives were able to identify Cain as the man who shot Gold with the aid of an unnamed witness who owned the SUV that Cain was driving. The witness told police that he had loaned Cain the vehicle, which was not returned to him until Friday evening.
The SUV owner told police that he knew the man as “Youngin,” apparently a nickname of Cain’s. The same witness, police said, identified a photo of Cain and also recognized him in surveillance video from St. Mary Street.
Magistrate Commissioner Albert Thibodeaux ordered Cain held without bail over the objections of his lawyer, meaning Cain will remain in jail until at least a Dec. 3 hearing.
Kenneth Hardin, of the Orleans Parish Public Defenders Office, noted that in the warrant obtained for Cain’s arrest, he was not identified as the attacker by either Gold or the other victim. Only the owner of the SUV identified Cain as the perpetrator.
Henn, from the DA’s Office, insisted that Cain is dangerous, alluding to the chilling surveillance footage that captured the shooting and saying that it took members of a local SWAT team and the U.S. Marshals Service to apprehend him.
“He’s an absolute menace to society,” Henn said. “He’s not a gentleman. He’s not.”
Henn also provided some additional information on Washington, Cain’s alleged girlfriend. Police said she was found inside a house in the 2200 block of Delachaise Street on Monday morning along with Cain and another woman.
Henn said that after being taken in for questioning when Cain was arrested, Washington admitted that a friend had told her Sunday night that her boyfriend was wanted for shooting Gold. “She said that she did not want to get him in trouble,” Henn said.
Washington’s public defense attorney, Elisabeth Sgro, argued that her client “was simply caught up in this case.” She said Washington spends most of her time at an aunt’s house, works as a bicycle mechanic and had no foreknowledge of what police said Cain did.
“While the underlying crime here is obviously a serious one, Miss Washington’s involvement is negligible,” Sgro said. She added that Washington rendered no “active aid” to Cain and had been with him for only a few hours before marshals swooped in.
Thibodeaux questioned Henn as to why police booked Washington only as an accessory after the fact to armed robbery — not to the separate kidnapping and attempted murder counts that Cain also faces.
Thibodeaux set Washington’s bail at $100,000, citing the seriousness of the crime, but he encouraged both sides to make further arguments.
“The court is curious about this particular matter,” he said.