An argument over drink cups left on the roof of a car in a barroom parking lot led to a brawl and gunfire that left one man dead and his 17-year-old brother paralyzed, according to authorities.
Investigators with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office say suspects Carolina Morales, 33, and her boyfriend, Maynor Ramos, 24, were the armed aggressors in the Jan. 8 confrontation in Harvey, with Morales allegedly standing over the already-injured victim to shoot him again.
But during a hearing held Wednesday in Jefferson Parish Magistrate Court, the defendants’ attorneys argued their clients acted in self-defense.
Morales and Ramos were each booked with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and obstruction of justice in the death of 31-year-old Carlos Galvez Jr. of Kenner.
Galvez, his teenage brother and two other unidentified people had been hanging out inside Rumba Sports Bar & Club on Manhattan Boulevard when they walked out to their vehicle in the parking lot just after 6 a.m. on Jan. 8, according to Detective Ryan Vaught.
Morales and Ramos were also in the parking lot. They were sitting in a vehicle that was parked next to Galvez’s car and preparing to smoke marijuana, Vaught testified.
After noticing drink cups left on the roof of Galvez’s vehicle, someone from his group — testimony did not make clear who it was — approached Morales’ car, yelling and cursing about the cups, Vaught said.
Morales stepped out of her vehicle armed with her 9mm handgun, Vaught said. The argument turned into a struggle over Morales’ gun, which she fired once during the scuffle.
Investigators allege Ramos got out of the car — he was also armed with a 9mm pistol — and shot Galvez as he fought with Morales. Galvez’s teenage brother punched Ramos at some point, Vaught said.
The 17-year-old suffered a gunshot wound to his neck. The teen told investigators that he was lying on the ground near his wounded older brother when Morales walked over and shot Galvez again, Vaught said.
Galvez suffered three gunshot wounds to his back and died at the scene, Vaught said. As of Wednesday, the 17-year-old was still hospitalized, paralyzed from the waist down.
Morales and Ramos fled before sheriff’s deputies arrived. They were arrested the next day at another bar in the 3200 block of Houma Boulevard in Metairie, Vaught said.
Ramos’ attorney, Letitia Parker-Davis, said Galvez and his group were the aggressors who attacked the defendants in a four-against-two confrontation.
“[Morales and Ramos] were already inside their vehicle minding their own business,” she said. “But for the fact that they were accosted in their vehicle and confronted about cups, none of this would have happened.”
Ramos claimed the gun he fired had been dropped by someone in Galvez’s group, according to Vaught and Ramos’s attorney. Ramos told investigators he fired to protect Morales, according to Vaught.
But authorities said neither victim nor the two people with them were armed. In a statement to investigators, Morales admitted that Ramos got out of her car carrying a gun, Vaught testified.
Jefferson Parish Criminal Commissioner Paul Schneider ruled there was probable cause to continue holding Morales and Ramos. They were being held without bail on the first-degree murder charge. Bail for the other charges was set at $600,000.