LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Louisville man who was having zoning trouble over the fence around his house shot and killed a neighbor and critically injured another at a homeowners association meeting inside a church, police said Friday.
Mahmoud Yousef Hindi, 55, is scheduled to be arraigned Saturday morning on charges of murder, assault and seven counts wanton endangerment in the Thursday evening shooting.
What specifically sparked the shooting wasn’t clear. Hindi, though, had a history of disputes with the homeowners group that revolved around a fence that the association said didn’t meet its height or design requirements and a recently installed driveway in his yard, said Louisville Police Lt. Barry Wilkerson. Last year, he sent a threatening letter about the dispute to an attorney.
The fence at the center of the dispute was no longer up at the house Friday.
“We do know that is a part of it,” Wilkerson said. “How much, I don’t know.”
Wilkerson wouldn’t say if Hindi confessed after his arrest but that “he did give us an account of what happened.”
Police didn’t release the type of weapon used or many details of what happened at the meeting, but did say Hindi was there for a short time before he started shooting. Some of the several people in attendance detained him until police arrived.
Slain was 73-year-old David Merritt, the one-time president of the homeowners association who was shot once in the head and died at the scene, said Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Jo-Ann Farmer. Farmer said the wounded man, whose identity was not immediately released, was hospitalized Friday at University of Louisville Hospital.
Spring Creek Homeowners Association attorney Mike Kelly told The Associated Press that the organization brought the zoning violation charges to the city. Hindi wrote several letters to Kelly, expressing anger and contempt for the attorney.
On Aug. 25, 2011, Hindi sent Kelly a rambling letter that ranted about several neighbors in the up-scale community of $300,000 homes.
In the letter, which AP obtained as a public record and Kelly confirmed receiving, Hindi, a doctor educated in Jordan, cites the Quran, the theory of creationism, the idea that America has gone to Communism, threatens to form his own homeowners association and accused neighbors of stealing his “no trespassing signs” in the dispute over the fence. Hindi also wrote that he tried to make peace with the neighbors, but became frustrated.
“It came to the point I was going to shoot any trespassers,” Hindi wrote. He wrote that if anyone doubted his intentions, “try me and go ahead make my day.”
Kelly said he didn’t know much about Hindi, just that the association filed the action against him.
The Spring Creek subdivision in the predominantly upper middle-class eastern end of Louisville includes stately, two-story brick homes, many valued between $270,000 and $300,000. It has manicured lawns and identical mailboxes. The homeowner’s association bylaws, posted on its website, include restrictions on the height, type and placement of fences; grass-cutting regulations (not to exceed 6 inches); and a requirement that every house have at least a two-car garage.
Barbara Pass, who lives down the street from Hindi, said people were intimidated by him, “because they never knew what to expect from him.”
“He threatened people, he would say things like, ‘You know I’ve got a gun and I just might use it.’”
She said he threatened his next door neighbor so much that the family moved.
Pass, who used to be on the homeowner’s board, said she would have gone to the meeting but she recently had surgery.
Hindi’s family members were surprised and puzzled by the shooting and arrest.
“Oh, my god,” said his sister-in-law, Magda Hindi, who was unaware of the shooting and arrest.
Mahmoud Hindi’s brother, Hasan Hindi of Carmel, Ind., said family members tried to speak with Mahmoud Hindi Thursday night and Friday morning, but officials gave them the court date and didn’t allow any contact.
“Even his family does not know what happened,” Hindi Hassan told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “What happened is still not clear.”
Hindi wrote in the same letter to the association that he had been “biting my teeth and exercising highest level of self-restraint” in dealing with the neighbors.
“As I always tell … I will 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,” Hindi wrote. “Thank God the house is paid off. I can pass away in peace with no concerns.”
Hindi also referred to a letter from Kelly about the code violation issue as a “stupid terrorist attempt.”
“If you ever dare to write my kids and pursue intimidation and harassment, you will be sorry; trust me,” Hindi wrote.
In the papers dated May 11, Musa Mahmoud Hindi requested a waiver from the city to keep a driveway that had been constructed without proper permits.
The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure lists Hindi as having been admitted to practice in Graves County in western Kentucky in March 2001. Hindi’s license expired in February 2008. No reason is listed for the expiration. Hindi, who listed his medical school as University of Jordan, Amman, practiced nuclear medicine.
The Kentucky Secretary of State’s office records show Hindi incorporated M. Yoseph Hindi, MD Enterprises in Mayfield in May 2002, but the company was administratively dissolved in November 2003 for failing to file an annual report with the state.
Follow Associated Press reporter Brett Barrouquere on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBarrouquereAP
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