A bicycle thief who was gunned down by Army veteran and former New Orleans police recruit Bradley Parvez in late 2014 was close enough to the shooter that police found soot from the gun on the dead man’s right hand as he lay on a bed of shattered glass, shot in the head in front of the Carrollton home where Parvez was staying, a police detective testified Tuesday.
Lt. Nicholas Gernon also said that a bullet wound to Timothy Rainwater’s right hand suggested a defensive gesture. Rainwater was unarmed when police say Parvez fired through the glass door of his Fern Street home on Nov. 13, 2014.
The proximity between the two men, and whether it was gunfire that broke the glass, were pivotal issues Tuesday as Orleans Parish prosecutors launched into the second-degree murder case against Parvez.
Parvez, 32, claims he opened the front door and fired in self-defense. His attorney, Martin Regan, suggested to the jury that Rainwater, 39, grabbed the front door after Parvez spotted him with pliers, trying to break the chain off Parvez’s bicycle.
Neighbors said they heard about five shots about 10 a.m.
Prosecutors Laura Cannizzaro Rodrigue and Tiffany Tucker displayed the windowless door to the jury on Tuesday, along with a white drape with what Gernon described as three bullet holes, suggesting Parvez had fired from inside.
Parvez, a former Army specialist, resigned as a New Orleans police recruit in 2006 after less than a year, graduating from the Police Academy but never completing his field training.
Parvez called 911 promptly after the shooting.
“I shot somebody. He tried to steal my bike,” Parvez reported. “I went outside to see what it was, and I opened up the door and he just kind of grabbed for me and all of a sudden. ...”
A few moments later, Parvez told the dispatcher, “He’s bleeding. You need to hurry up, man. He went for my gun and, I don’t know, dude.”
Regan and Gernon went back and forth Tuesday over the significance of Rainwater’s injuries.
“All these other shots demonstrate that (Rainwater) is attempting to get away from Mr. Parvez,” Gernon insisted.
The gunshot wound to his right hand, entering through the side and coming out through the palm, “suggests: Stop shooting at me,” Gernon told the jury.
Gernon said an autopsy found cocaine and a heroin derivative in Rainwater.
The trial continues Wednesday before Criminal District Court Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier. Parvez faces a mandatory life prison term if convicted on the murder charge.
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.