We now know who opened the locked fence at the St. Bernard Housing Development and let in the protestors.
Garelle Smith, age 25, was arrested for tearing down part of the fence erected by the Housing Authority of New Orleans. That’s when police made another discovery. The breaking-and-entering charge is the least of Smith’s worries.
This man was wanted for murder. Police say last August 4, Garelle Smith gunned down Mandell Duplessis, 24, outside a FEMA trailer in Gentilly. The newspaper report is confusing, but it appears that Smith happened upon a group of robbers who had taken the residents of the trailer hostage and were looking for drugs and money. He started blasting and Duplessis was dead. It seems that Duplessis was not a robber, but an innocent party who happened to knock on the door of the trailer without a clue what was going on inside.
Turns out Mr. Smith has quite the history. November 26, 2003, a local rapper called Soulja Slim–but whose mama named him James Tapp–was killed while walking across the front lawn of his Gentilly home. Police say Garelle Smith earned $10,000 in that killing-for-hire.
While police were investigating that case, Smith was sitting in jail booked with another murder, that of a recording artist called Funk, but actually Spencer Smith, Jr., who died in front of the St. Bernard Housing Project, riddled with bullets. (Apparently Garelle Smith had a thing against local rappers.)
Thursday’s Times-Picayune: “Garelle Smith was charged with second-degree murder in Spencer Smith’s killing, but the case disintegrated in court.” Whatever that means.
Anyway, the cops have him now, all because he tore down a fence.
In Ron Dunn’s book “Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something,” he tells a delightful little story that comes to mind here.
Ron was speaking at a church banquet to honor the members of their round-the-clock prayer ministry. A woman gave this testimony.
One morning recently, she was at home baking pies and had just put one in the oven when the phone rang. The school nurse informed her that her teenage son was sick and she should come get him. She calculated how long it would take to drive to the school and back and figured she had just enough time before the pie was ready.
At the school, the nurse said, “Your son is worse. You need to get him to the family doctor.” Well, your child is more important than any pie, so they drove straight to the doctor’s office. They waited too long in the doctor’s outer office, but then the doctor examined him and gave the mom a prescription.
“Get this filled and get him in bed right away.”
Mom dropped her son off at the house, told him to turn off the oven and get in bed, and drove to the drug store at the mall. She got the prescription filled and hurried back to her car in the parking lot.
The car was locked. There were her keys, still in the ignition.
She ran back into the store and called home. The phone rang and rang before her son answered in that weak sickly voice. When he heard her story, he said, “Mom, go into a store in the mall and get a wire coat hanger and use that to open the door.” He hung up the phone.
That’s when the woman discovered how hard it is to find a wire coat hanger in the mall. Plenty of wood and plastic, but no wire. One dozen stores later, she found one and rushed out to the car.
That’s also when she discovered she did not have a clue how to open a car door with a coat hanger. At that point she lost it.
Through her tears of frustration, she prayed. “Dear Lord, my boy is sick and he needs this medicine and my pie is in the oven and the keys are locked in the car and Lord, I don’t know what to do with this coat hanger. Dear Lord, send somebody who knows what to do with it, and I need that person NOW, Lord!”
As she was ending her prayer, a beat-up car pulled up and stopped. A young man in a dirty t-shirt and ragged jeans got out. He had a full beard and long, stringy hair. He looked fearsome, but he was her only hope.
As he came closer, she stepped in front of him with the coat hanger and said, “Young man, do you know how to open my car with this coat hanger?”
He stood there a moment, took the hanger, and said, “Where’s the car?”
The woman later said she had never seen anything like it. The young scruffy-looking fellow took one look at the car, twisted the hanger, and bam! The door was open.
As the door popped opened, she threw her arms around him. “Oh,” she said, “the Lord sent you. You’re a good boy. You must be a Christian.”
The man said, “No ma’am. I’m not a Christian and I’m not a good boy. I just got out of the penitentiary yesterday.”
She jumped up and hugged him again. “Praise God!” she said. “I asked for help and He sent me a professional!”
How does that line go–”He’s able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
Sometimes, it takes a pro.