Police say they did not have to go far to find their suspect in a North Claiborne Avenue shootout that happened Sunday.
Officers arriving at University Medical Center a few hours later found a man with a gunshot wound to the back of his head and — just as witnesses had described, alluding to a famous rapper’s well-known facial hair — “a Rick Ross beard.”
The suspect, 30-year-old Richard Macklin, claimed he fired in self-defense, but police say he was the aggressor.
Macklin was released from the hospital and booked at the Orleans Parish jail on Monday on three counts of attempted second-degree murder, one for each of the three men police say he shot. Magistrate Commissioner Jonathan Friedman set his bail at $375,000.
Police said the melee started about 3:30 p.m. at the Claiborne Express station just off Esplanade Avenue. Macklin, who was driving a white Volvo, arrived at the gas station at the same time as a large group of men riding ATVs.
Macklin became “enraged” during an argument, according to an arrest report, and shot three of the men, ages 30, 31 and 32. Then one of the ATV riders, whom police have not named, pulled out a legally owned weapon and shot back.
Police said they arrested three other men — Jerome Richards, 25; Corey Berry, 20; and Charles Simon, 27 — when they fled the scene on ATVs. After a chase, all three were booked with reckless operation of a vehicle, police said.
None of the ATV riders who were shot were booked.
Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said Sunday that none of the men’s wounds are life-threatening.
Police said in the arrest report that statements from victims and witnesses made it “evident” that Macklin was the aggressor and responsible for the shooting.
Friedman, the magistrate commissioner, found probable cause in relation to the shooting for the three counts of attempted second-degree murder as well as illegal use of a weapon, illegal carrying of a weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Macklin was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas in 2009, according to court records, and also has previous convictions in New Orleans for domestic abuse, battery and violations of a protective order.
Macklin’s sister, 33-year-old Ariel Chambers-Lambert, said she was barred from visiting him at the hospital on the night of the shooting. She said she believes the police have named the wrong man as the first shooter.
“The streets are saying totally different from the news,” Chambers-Lambert said. “He’s a good guy. He was by himself; he wasn’t with no gang of guys.”
Police painted a more complicated picture of Macklin’s family life in an arrest warrant for a Jan. 20 domestic violence incident in New Orleans East, which a spokesperson said was unrelated to the shooting .
Authorities said the victim, Macklin’s 34-year-old ex-girlfriend, was arriving home in the 5100 block of Bundy Road when he confronted her about a supposed infidelity. Macklin threatened to kill the woman, displayed a handgun and then punched her left eye with a closed fist several times, according to a warrant.
Police said they had not been able to find and arrest him before he was involved in Sunday’s shooting. He has been booked on counts of domestic abuse, battery and aggravated assault for the earlier incident, according to court records. His next court date is Thursday .