The shooting of a LaPlace man by members of an anti-drug task force in New Orleans’ St. Roch neighborhood last week was preceded by a sting operation in which a confidential informant wearing a wire tried to lure the man into solicitation of murder, State Police said in a warrant.

Authorities gave few details about whom they believe Anthony Horton, 42, planned to kill or say how seriously they took the purported plot. But they said that shortly before law enforcement officers shot him on the night of June 30, he told the informant that he did not need to hire a killer because he would do the job himself.

Minutes later, police claim, Horton fled from troopers trying to interrupt his plan and then shot at them, provoking a state trooper and a St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy to fire back.

After nearly a week in the hospital recuperating from a bullet wound to his left hip, Horton made his first appearance in court Wednesday and was ordered held in lieu of $555,000 bail.

The warrant for Horton’s arrest on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, sworn by Trooper Justin Rice, states that State Police narcotics agents learned from a confidential informant that Horton was “actively seeking to hire someone to murder an unknown victim.”

The unnamed informant arranged to meet with Horton in a Wal-Mart store parking lot to discuss the planned killing and to obtain a weapon, police said. Detectives and narcotics agents planned to listen to their conversation in “real time” via monitoring devices.

But Horton, who was armed with a semi-automatic pistol, told the informant he was going to commit the killing himself, police said. Horton then hopped into a 2004 Nissan Xterra and left the parking lot.

Because detectives realized they could not nail Horton on an allegation of solicitation of murder, police said, they decided to arrest him instead on an outstanding warrant for aggravated battery in connection with a May shooting in New Orleans East.

But after the SUV in which he was a passenger was stopped by a marked State Police vehicle, police said, Horton jumped out and ran to the 1400 block of Music Street.

Trooper Melissa Matey, a State Police spokeswoman, said last week that Horton was confronted there by a trooper and a St. Bernard deputy assigned to a state anti-drug task force. At that point, according to the warrant, Horton pointed a chrome pistol and “began shooting.”

The trooper and deputy returned fire, according to the warrant, striking Horton once in the left hip. He was taken to University Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. No one else was injured in the exchange of gunfire.

Horton has now been booked on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting an officer.

The warrant states that the driver of the Nissan Xterra was also arrested, but Matey said that claim was incorrect. Only Horton was arrested, she said.

Matey said the number of times the trooper and deputy shot at Horton is “under investigation.” Witnesses the night of the shooting said they heard more than 10 shots.

Police have yet to release the name of either the trooper or the deputy who fired at Horton.

“Because of the job that they have, and the duties that they’re assigned, we don’t plan on releasing their names,” Matey said. She declined to clarify whether the trooper and deputy were acting in an undercover capacity as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, which is led by the State Police.

Matey also declined to name the target of Horton’s purported murder-for-hire plot, including whether the victim might have been the same as that in an earlier May 16 shooting in New Orleans East.

New Orleans police said that in that incident, the victim told them he was approached by Horton, his girlfriend’s brother, in the 4400 block of Skyview Drive.

“You not going to get my sister caught up, I’ma kill you,” Horton allegedly told the victim. The pair then scuffled before Horton shot the other man through the right arm as he fled, police said.

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