Around 3 a.m. one Saturday morning last month, Gerald Melton was trying to sleep – as he often did – on a sidewalk near Nashville’s Music Row, known as the heart of the city’s entertainment industry.
But the 54-year-old homeless man was “disturbed” by the smell of exhaust fumes and the sound of loud music emanating from a white Porsche SUV nearby, Nashville metro police said in a news release. He asked the driver to move the Porsche, prompting a shouting match between the two. At some point, Melton walked back to the area where he had been trying to sleep, he told police.
Then, the driver, a 26-year-old woman named Katie Quackenbush, allegedly stepped out of the Porsche and fired two gunshots at Melton, hitting him in the stomach, police said. She then got back in her SUV and fled the area.
On Monday, Quackenbush, an aspiring singer and songwriter, was charged with attempted murder in connection with the Aug. 26 shooting. She was booked into jail and released after posting a $25,000 bond. Melton was critically wounded and remains hospitalized at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, police said.
The news of Quackenbush’s arrest stirred outrage on social media and from advocates of the homeless. It’s also not her first time arrested in connection to a violent incident. In December, Quackenbush was charged with misdemeanor assault after striking a woman in the head with a drinking glass, according to records cited by the Tennessean. The case is still pending.
Almost four years ago, she was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic assault charge after hitting another woman. The charge was later dropped.
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