A decorated U.S. Marine charged with attempted murder after allegedly wounding two people outside a Massachusetts nightclub had been undergoing treatment for post-war stress since returning from duty in Iraq, his attorney was quoted as saying in a report published Monday.
Sgt. Daniel B. Cotnoir, who was jailed on $100,000 bail, was due to be arraigned Monday on charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and assault with intent to murder after the incident early Saturday in the city of Lawrence.
Cotnoir had complained to police after a crowd of nearly 30 people gathered outside a nightclub and restaurant near his apartment. After someone hurled a bottle that shattered his bedroom window, Cotnoir fired “a warning shot,” the Boston Globe reported Monday.
The bullet hit a 15-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man, but caused only minor injuries.
“He shot into what he thought was a safe area, but there was some ricochet effects that Mr. Cotnoir never intended,” his lawyer, Robert F. Kelley, was quoted as saying.
“It was a military-type response to a threatening situation that was civilian in nature.”
'Craziest night of my life’
Cotnoir has been struggling psychologically since returning from Iraq in 2004, Kelley said.
Police were not immediately available to comment.
“It was the craziest night of my life,” said Kelvin Castro, the man who was slightly wounded by the gunshot allegedly fired by Cotnoir. “I don’t know what that guy’s intentions were.”
Cotnoir has frequently called police to complain about noise and fights outside the Punto Finale nightclub. Last year, police said, he claimed someone leaving the club had fired a gunshot at his apartment, the Associated Press reported.
During his tour in Iraq last year, Cotnoir had been a military mortician responsible for preparing soldiers for open-casket funerals.
The job took a heavy psychological toll, he told the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune in an interview last month after the Marine Corps Times named Cotnoir its “Marine of the Year,” an award presented to him at a ceremony in Washington. At the time, he was getting counseling at a veterans hospital.
“It’s a lot harder to talk about the job now than it was at the time to actually do it,” Cotnoir told the newspaper then. “The stories I’ve gained from my deployment aren’t the kind of stories you share.”