LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Retired cop and neighbor stopped Mahmoud Hindi, forced him to drop gun after shooting two


Retired Louisville Metro Police Officer Raymond Leezer was attending the homeowners' board meeting as a citizen - he and his wife Sally wanted to hear more about new homes being built nearby.

But as Mahmoud Yousef Hindi quietly - and without warning - raised a gun to shoot a neighbor, Leezer, 59, jumped from his seat and ran at Hindi, reaching him just moments after Hindi fired again, this time hitting homeowners' association president David Merritt in the head.

Association board member Horacio Urieta, 58, got to Hindi first, grabbing the man's arm, pushing it and his gun upward. Together, Urieta and Leezer pushed Hindi against a wall, with Leezer forcing the 55-year-old to drop the gun, according to newly released court records.

"He just looked at me and said, 'I don't have a problem with you,'" Leezer, who had retired from the narcotics unit in 2006, told police.

Urieta recalled Hindi saying, "I only had two bullets, don't worry about it," though police said the gun was still loaded. "Ray was shouting for someone to call the police and (Hindi) said, 'I'm not going anywhere. Call police.'"

Leezer's wife went to Merritt's side. She told police that she held the 73-year-old retired federal highway engineer's hand and heard him breathe, though he died soon after.

When she went to the neighbor who was shot first, Marvin Fisher, she said he tried to get up, though she told him to lay down and tried to comfort him.

"I just held his hand and ... told him help was coming," Sally Leezer told police, according to a transcript of her interview.

And then, she said, she yelled at Hindi, "Mr. Hindi, what have you done?"

Fisher, a 69-year-old retired bank vice president, died days later.

The Leezers were among four residents and six members of the Spring Creek Homeowners Association's board at Springdale Community Church in eastern Jefferson County Sept. 6 when Hindi has admitted he shot Merritt and Fisher.

"This doesn't seem real," Sally Leezer told police after the shooting. "...It just can't get out of your head."

Reached by phone this week, Sally Leezer said neither she nor her husband wanted to talk with The Courier-Journal about what happened. Urieta did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Earlier this month, prosecutors released a videotaped police interview of Hindi, where he said in a calm and friendly manner that he went to the meeting hoping to resolve issues regarding a dispute over his fence and driveway with Fisher and Merritt, but was prepared to kill them - and did.

"I was hoping that I could reason with them," he said. "But I said to myself, if they are not going to resolve peace with me, honestly, I had to kill them. So I took my gun."

Hindi, 55, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and seven counts of wanton endangerment and has requested that a public defender be appointed because he is indigent.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Frederic Cowan has ordered that Hindi continue to be held without bond at least until a public defender is appointed and there is another hearing.

The next court date is set for Friday.

The witnesses' video statements and transcripts released this week provide another account of what happened.

At the start of the meeting, Raymond Leezer said he saw Hindi sit down at a table with the board and put a satchel next to him, but didn't think the man seemed nervous. Hindi has told police he carried his gun and extra bullets in the bag.

Sally Leezer said Hindi was "smiling and seemed pleasant." She noticed the satchel too, but said she thought he might be carrying papers that he would use to address the board.

Board member Michelle Childress also said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

"He wasn't confrontational, he wasn't anything, he was just sitting there," she told police. "He asked if we were going to hand out an agenda and our president told him it was just for the board."

Still, Childress added that as she walked to the meeting and saw Hindi ahead of her, she was concerned enough to call and let her husband know he was there.

"We've had trouble with him, I guess you could say," said Childress. "He's been a problem. ... I sure never dreamed it was going to be anything like that."

Urieta told police that he had never met Hindi before, but knew of his threats and had read letters Hindi wrote to the board. Had he known Hindi was there, Urieta said, he would have left.

The recently released evidence also includes a complaint that a former neighbor, Wilburn Kincaid, made to police, alleging that Hindi had threatened to shoot the neighbor if he set foot on Hindi's property. And, according to the report, Hindi told Kincaid that if he "touches any of the bushes" that Hindi planted, Kincaid will have "caused your own death."

In his own interview after the shooting, Hindi told police that he'd been treated unfairly by Merritt and Fisher, among others, in a dispute over a fence and a driveway built at his family's home, noting, "To me, this is about justice and injustice." And he said he went to the meeting to "see if we could get this resolved and be reasonable about this stupid issue."

But he packed the old revolver in a bag, "because if they were not going to act as human beings, I was going to shoot them."

Hindi had been in court with Merritt, Fisher and Spring Creek Homeowners Association attorney Mike Kelly on Aug. 28 as part of a lawsuit that the homeowners association filed against Hindi over zoning code violations. During that hearing, Hindi told Jefferson Circuit Judge Charles Cunningham that Kelly was harassing him and his children.

In a June 20 letter to Cunningham, Hindi asked the judge to "put an end for this 'satanic' harassment and aggression" against him, according to court files.

Hindi told police that he tried to set up a meeting with Merritt and Fisher in the days before the shooting, saying he "wanted us to be good neighbors" and settle their problems.

Hindi said Merritt told him to come to the Sept. 6 meeting. Hindi said he went, hoping to talk with the two men.

Hindi's family and attorneys have said he has struggled with mental health problems for years and has been under psychiatric care. Hindi, a doctor whose specialty was nuclear medicine, had a practice in Mayfield, Ky., until he gave it up because he suffered from severe depression, according to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.

In his interview with police, Hindi said he had taken Prozac since 2008 to treat depression caused by back problems. Hindi also said he had been under a doctor's care since 2005. In an interview police had with Hindi's wife, Fatima, however, she said her husband did not suffer from any mental health issues and was not taking any medication.

"She described his mental state as normal saying he was usually happy but was also very protective of their children," according to a summary of the interview in court records.