New Orleans, LA – The landlord who was shot as he and a New Orleans deputy constable were serving eviction paperwork on a tenant last month has been criminally charged for allegedly pulling out a rifle during the chaotic incident.
New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Sergeant Debra Pruitt, who reconstructed the events leading up to the shooting, said the mayhem began when 24-year-old Jason Tillman “became irate” with three maintenance workers at his apartment building on Oct. 5, The Times-Picayune reported.
The workers were changing out the locks on Tillman’s apartment located in the 7800-block of South Coronet Court at the time, Sgt. Pruitt noted.
Investigators said 53-year-old First City Court for Orleans Parish Deputy Constable Warren Smith and 36-year-old property manager Alonzo Horton were also present in order to serve Tillman with the eviction notice, WWL reported.
According to Sgt. Pruitt, Horton pulled out a rifle during the heated confrontation and aimed it at Tillman, The Times-Picayune reported.
Tillman, a convicted felon, then drew out a 9mm handgun and began shooting in Horton’s direction while fleeing the area, the sergeant said.
Deputy Constable Smith was hit in the shoulder during the incident, and Horton was shot in the chest, The Times-Picayune reported.
It is unclear whether the deputy constable also fired his weapon during the incident.
Deputy Constable Smith and Horton were both rushed to University Medical Center, where they were listed in stable condition, The Times-Picayune previously reported.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officers from multiple agencies flooded the area to search for Tillman.
K-9 units, a SWAT team, New Orleans police, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, and members of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) joined in the manhunt as a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) helicopter searched from above.
Tillman was located near North Lopez Street in Mid-City later in the afternoon and was taken into custody after a brief standoff, WDSU reported.
He has since been charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, according to The Times Picayune.
His bail was set at $30,000.
Tillman is also facing charges for allegedly robbing his own mother at gunpoint during a confrontation that occurred at a gas station on Sept. 1, 2021, WWL reported.
Police arrested Horton last week on a charge of aggravated assault with a gun, according to The Times-Picayune.
He posted his $3,500 bail prior to being booked into jail and remained free, WWL reported.
Prosecutors alleged Horton escalated the situation by pulling out the rifle.
His attorney, Leon Roche, said Tillman is the only person who should be facing charges for causing the violent confrontation.
“The only aggressor in this case was Jason Tillman, a violent convicted felon, who attempted to murder a deputy constable and my client,” Roche said. “Scapegoating an innocent victim, who was shot three times himself, will not achieve justice in this case.”
He alleged Tillman had made “previous threats…that there would be violence” if he was to be evicted, WWL reported.
“He was armed and ready for violence,” Roche added. “I think Mr. Tillman was the aggressor in this situation. And I think that Mr. Horton took action to save his life and possibly even the deputy’s life.”
Roche said Horton has no prior felony convictions and that he was lawfully carrying the gun he had with him during the incident, WWL reported.
He said Horton suffered a graze wound to his head and two gunshots to his torso.
“The one in his groin actually traveled up to his back. It’s like five inches away from his heart at this moment. It’s still inside of him,” Roche told WWL. “So, he almost lost his life out there.”
First City Court for Orleans Parish Constable Lambert Boissiere said this incident is a perfect example of why his office “always tells the landlord to step back and let us handle the eviction,” according the news outlet.
“Let the deputies do their job and don’t try to interfere,” Constable Boissiere reiterated.
The deputy constable had not yet returned to duty, but he is expected to make a full recovery, according to WWL.