Suit filed in shooting resulting in paralysis

The driver and front-seat passenger of a car in which the teenage son of Metro Councilman Chandler Loupe was riding last February “bailed out” of the car shortly before Loupe’s son was shot in the back seat and paralyzed during what police have called a drug deal gone bad, a lawsuit alleges.

The suit, filed by Loupe and his wife Mary P. Loupe, contends that their son Thomas Loupe — who was 15 at the time — asked the driver, Nicholas Hooter, not to stop the car in the 1600 block of Mary Lou Drive in the Mayfair subdivision of Baton Rouge on the evening of Feb. 3, 2012, but Hooter stopped the car anyway.

Trey Mayer, the front passenger who also was 15 at the time, got out of the car and began talking with several nearby persons, including Tyler Coleman and Terrance Thornton, the suit claims. Mayer then handed over a sum of money and returned to the car with Coleman and Thornton, the suit says.

Thomas Loupe told Hooter, who was 17 at the time, that he should not let Coleman and Thornton into the car, but Coleman and Thornton were allowed into the back seat with Loupe, the suit states. Mayer returned to the front passenger seat.

“As Hooter began to drive with Loupe, Mayer and his two new occupants, Coleman drew a pistol and began to point it in the direction of Hooter, Mayer and Loupe. Coleman demanded the trio’s valuables,” the suit alleges.

“Once the demand was made and after the pistol was brandished, Mayer ‘bailed out’ of the car and was soon followed by Hooter,” the suit says. “As he abandoned Loupe on the back seat with Thornton and Coleman, Hooter took the ignition keys with him.”

Coleman and Thornton then robbed Loupe “of the little money in his possession,” the suit states, and either while in the car, getting out of the car or immediately after leaving the car, the pistol Coleman was carrying fired twice, with one bullet hitting Loupe and causing “severe and permanent injury to his spine.”

“Lying on the back seat, bleeding, alone, Loupe tried to move the vehicle, but could not,” the suit says. “Loupe called 911 for help.”

Hooter returned to the car and drove Loupe out of Mayfair to a shopping center on Staring Lane, where police and other first-responders met the Hooter car and took Loupe to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

The suit, filed Friday in state district court in Baton Rouge, names as defendants Nicholas Hooter and his mother, Lisa Hooter; Trey Mayer’s father, Francis Mayer; Terrance Thornton; Coleman’s father, Rhett R. Coleman; and Virginia Ruth Trotter, the owner of the car.

“I have no knowledge of what you’re talking about,” Lisa Hooter said Tuesday when contacted by phone.

Francis Mayer said, “I don’t know what to say.”

The suit also lists Hooter’s and Mayer’s homeowner’s insurers as defendants.

Prosecutors have charged Coleman, 17, and Thornton, 20, both of Baton Rouge, with one count each of attempted second-degree murder and three counts each of armed robbery.

Dan Claitor, who represents the Loupe family in the suit, said the Loupes’ youngest child was “catastrophically injured due to the convergence of the conduct of several actors.”

“Unlike the criminal proceeding, the purpose of this proceeding is to examine, to determine, and to assess the civil responsibility of the driver of the vehicle, the other passenger that navigated the three youngsters to the scene, and the young men that entered the vehicle, as well as the parents of these actors in their supervisory capacity,” he said.

“In time, I am confident that justice will be done.”

Chandler Loupe said his family will not comment on any of the judicial proceedings.

Nicholas Hooter, Trey Mayer and Thomas Loupe initially told police they were cutting through the Mayfair area when Loupe was struck by a stray bullet, detectives testified in November.

Later, they acknowledged driving to the area to buy marijuana, the detectives said.

Mayer was booked on a count of attempted possession of marijuana.

The suit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages, has been assigned to state District Judge Wilson Fields.