Is loud music a tipping point for some people who may not like noise and have a gun? In a pre-Christmas shooting, a Missouri man is claiming self-defense after he reportedly put on a bullet-proof vest and murdered a neighbor who he thought was playing loud music no one else could hear.
Police in Maryland Heights, Missouri reported that 26 year-old James C. Blanton shot and killed 35 year-old Yi-Ping “Peter” Chang on the afternoon of December 13, when he knocked on Chang’s door complaining about “loud bass music”.
The 35-year-old Chang, a computer support specialist for an agrochemical company, was home watching a movie with his girlfriend at an apartment complex in the St. Louis suburb when Blanton knocked on the door complaining about loud music. There was an argument, then Blanton shot and killed Chang. He then sat outside Chang’s apartment and waited for police to arrive.
Blanton reportedly had a cooperative, justifying demeanor with police on the scene, telling them that he had killed Chang in self-defense, though police did not report if any other weapon was found. Blanton was held on a $500,000 bond after being charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.
Blanton had reportedly also complained other times to other neighbors about loud music, those interviewed by the St. Louis Post Dispatch say. Yet no one but Blanton could ever hear the “loud bass music” he complained about. “He’s gone to everyone’s apartment knocking about noise and music from time to time,” neighbor Kelly Miller told KMOV.
A police official said Blanton wanted Chang to ‘turn the bass down,’ but Chang wasn’t playing any loud music. It’s not known if the movie Chang and his girlfriend were watching could have been a source of any loud music.
After trial, Blanton was sentenced to 24 years in prison on September 19, 2018.
Other incidents caused by real music have ended in tragedy. In 2010 46 year-old retired firefighter Raul Rodriguez complained about loud music coming from a children’s birthday party in Houston, told a police dispatcher he was “standing his ground” and fired a gun at a group of unarmed men, killing one and wounding two others. Rodriguez was convicted of murder, sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2013, then won a retrial after the conviction was overturned because of flaws in jury instructions. In November, 2015, he was convicted again.
Then, on Black Friday in 2012, 46 year-old Michael Dunn opened fire on a group of teenagers in an SUV during an argument over loud music in Jacksonville, Florida, killing 17 year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn claimed self-defense, but was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole. Dunn is currently appealing his sentence.