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National Guard Shoots Man Armed With BB Gun
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 16, 2007

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA--As the trial nears for seven New Orleans police officers accused of shooting to death a man with an intellectual disability, the Louisiana National Guard is facing scrutiny after a guardsman shot to death a man with a psychiatric disability.

While on patrol in a mostly vacant part of New Orleans about 1 a.m. on March 9, National Guard troops spotted Terry Burton riding a bicycle and carrying a hacksaw. A National Guard spokesman later told reporters that the guardsmen followed the 53-year-old Burton, who National Public Radio described as "mentally ill", because there had been many thefts of copper pipe in the area. When the soldiers approached Burton he reportedly threatened them with a knife, and then threw broken glass at them, injuring a sergeant.

The guardsmen then followed Burton into an empty house, where he pointed what appeared to be a rifle at them. After one soldier shot Burton several times, killing him at the scene, they learned that he was only holding a BB gun.

The guardsman was removed from patrol duty, the spokesman said.

Governor Kathleen Blanco dispatched the National Guard last summer to help police reduce the crime rate in New Orleans in the year following Hurricane Katrina. About 300 guardsmen remain, mostly to patrol for looters and thieves.

Seven New Orleans police officers are awaiting charges of murder or attempted murder related to the September 4, 2005 shooting deaths of two unarmed men on the Danziger Bridge. One of those was 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who had an intellectual disability. The officers allegedly shot Madison while he was running away from them. The officers later said they believed Madison had a gun and was turning to fire at them.

The coroner later concluded that Madison was shot seven times -- five of those in the back. No gun was found at the scene.

Some family members told The Guardian earlier this month that they were angry that some of the accused officers are back on the job, and are suspicious that the crime is being covered up.

"I want justice to prevail," said Romell Madison. "True justice for what happened to my brother."

"Some in Big Easy Question Guard's Value" (National Public Radio)
"Relatives demand justice as police go on trial over Katrina killings" (The Guardian),,2026077,00.html
"Katrina Case Judge Decries Legal `mess'" (Washington Post)
"People With Disabilities Among Hardest Hit By Hurricanes Katrina & Rita" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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