Dallas, Texas

From the Dallas Morning News of September 4, 2007

Carter Albrecht, musician with Sorta, New Bohemians, dies in shooting

The local music community was left stunned Monday by the fatal shooting of a well-known musician who authorities say beat up his girlfriend and then tried to kick in a neighbor’s door in an apparent drunken rage.

Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, 34, died early Monday after being shot in the head by the neighbor, who thought he was a burglar. Police said the girlfriend had bruises on her face but did not suffer serious injuries. The couple did not have a history of domestic violence, police said.

Mr. Albrecht, who went by his middle name, was a guitarist and keyboardist best known for his work with the Dallas rock band Sorta as well as with Edie Brickell & New Bohemians.

“It’s a sad day for Dallas music,” local concert promoter Mike Snider said. “He was a musical genius, a real prodigy — everything came to him naturally. He was an incredible instrumentalist — when he played, you could really see the joy he got out of playing.”

According to police, Mr. Albrecht and his girlfriend had been partying at a Greenville Avenue bar. He had gotten drunk, and she had driven them to her home in the 9000 block of Santa Clara Drive, just east of White Rock Lake, police said.

The girlfriend told police that Mr. Albrecht slammed a drinking glass on a table, cutting his hand. He then struck the girlfriend in the face several times with his fist, knocking her to the floor at about 4 a.m. Monday, the report said.

He hit her in the back while she was on the floor, the report said. She broke away from Mr. Albrecht and ran outside. He followed her, according to the report. She then went around to the back yard and through the back door, locking Mr. Albrecht out, the report said.

Mr. Albrecht “attempted a few times to gain access to the … residence by knocking and banging on the door,” but could not get in, the report said. Police believe Mr. Albrecht then went to the back of nearby neighbor’s home.

The neighbor told police “he was awakened when he heard his wife screaming that someone was breaking into the house.” The man was kicking and banging at the door, and the homeowner yelled at him to stop.

When the man, identified as Mr. Albrecht, didn’t stop, the homeowner who was armed with a handgun “shot one time at the top of the door,” the report said.

“He was trying to shoot over his head to scare him away,” but Mr. Albrecht “is rather tall,” said Sgt. Larry Lewis, a homicide supervisor, estimating the musician’s height to be 6-foot-5.

Mr. Albrecht was shot once time in the head and died at the scene.

Police did not release the name of the homeowner who shot Mr. Albrecht. Investigators said the case will be referred to the grand jury to determine whether any charges will be filed.

A new law, nicknamed the “Castle doctrine,” eliminates the requirement that someone has to retreat before using deadly force to defend themselves. The law already allows a person to use deadly force to prevent someone from committing a break-in at night.

From Corpus Christi’s KRIStv.com of September 4, 2007

Dallas police believe shooting of keyboardist was self-defense

The shooting death of a member of Edie Brickell and New Bohemians appears to fall under state law permitting deadly force in self-defense, police and prosecutors said Tuesday.

A grand jury will decide whether the man who shot Jeffrey Carter Albrecht will be indicted, but Sgt. Larry Lewis said Dallas police aren’t pursuing charges.

Police said Albrecht, 34, was inebriated and had been fighting with his girlfriend Monday before he was shot by a neighbor of the girlfriend.

“I am heart broken,” Edie Brickell wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The neighbor, who was not immediately identified, woke up around 4 a.m. to his wife screaming that someone was breaking into the house, police said. The neighbor yelled through the door for Albrecht to leave and then fired his handgun through the door, hitting Albrecht in the head.

“He yelled several verbal warnings, ‘I’ll shoot! I’ll shoot!’,” Lewis said. “From what we gather, he fired near the top of the door, hoping he would scare the person away.”

The homeowner was not arrested.

The shooting came two days after the enactment of a new state law, nicknamed the “Castle Doctrine,” that gives Texans a stronger legal right to defend themselves with deadly force in their homes, cars and workplaces.

Lewis, however, said the shooter appeared to be protected under an earlier law that allows a person to protect their property with deadly force to “prevent the other’s imminent commission … of criminal mischief during the nighttime.”

Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins said that in shootings like this, he’d be surprised to see a grand jury return an indictment.

“In an incident like that you’re well within your rights under the old law, as well as the new one, to use deadly force,” Watkins said.

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