Crime

Brother: Shooting suspect mentally ill

LOUISVILLE — The brother of a man accused in a deadly shooting at a homeowners' meeting in Louisville says the suspect suffered from a "bad psychiatric condition."

Hasan Hindi of Carmel, Ind., told The Courier-Journal in a telephone interview on Monday that his brother, Mahmoud Hindi, has struggled for years with mental health issues. Mahmoud Hindi's attorneys, Khalid Kahloon and Todd Lewis, say their client has been under psychiatric care, but declined to say why.

"He is not in a healthy condition," Hasan Hindi said. "He did this because of his bad psychiatric condition. (We) will prove this."

Hindi was arrested after the shooting Thursday during the Spring Creek Homeowners Association meeting at Springdale Community Church. He was charged with murder in the death of 73-year-old David Merritt, who died at the scene. Hindi pleaded not guilty Saturday to that charge as well as assault and wanton endangerment. A second man, 69-year-old Marvin Fisher, died Sunday.

Police say Hindi, who had practiced as a doctor until his license lapsed in 2006, had a history of disputes with the homeowners group in the upscale neighborhood.

Kahloon said the shooting has left Hindi's family shocked and devastated.

"They just cannot comprehend that their father would do something as horrendous and horrible as has been alleged," Kahloon said.

Kahloon said Hindi's medical conditions led to him surrendering his medical license.

Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure general counsel C. Lloyd Vest II said Hindi had applied to re-register his license, but he was ordered in 2007 to get a neuropsychological evaluation. He said the results led the board to defer action pending another assessment, but Hindi did not appear again before the board and his license remained inactive.

The newspaper also reported Monday that it obtained records showing Hindi had an outstanding arrest warrant stemming from an incident two years ago at an Islamic center in Terre Haute, Ind. A police report says Hindi and another man had to be separated during an argument over "religious practices."

Meanwhile, court records in a lawsuit between the homeowners association and Hindi over whether a fence violated zoning codes show that he had made threats against neighbors and the board attorney.

An Aug. 25, 2011, letter Hindi sent to Spring Creek Homeowners Association attorney Mike Kelly, said he would "protect the sacred interest of my kids even if it comes to killing and even if I lose my own life in the course of doing so."

In an interview Monday, Kelly said the threats were "vague" and he sent the letter to board members, but did not go to police.

"People say things to lawyers all the time," Kelly said. "I don't really pay a lot of attention to it."

Kelly said Hindi and the homeowners association seemed to be working toward a resolution when the shooting occurred.

"It's a real tragedy," Kelly said about Merritt and Fisher. "They were both first-class guys. It just breaks my heart what's happened."

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