Witness to Cordova parking lot murder tried to plead with gunman - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Witness to Cordova parking lot murder tried to plead with gunman

Memphis police have charged Harry Coleman, 59, with second degree murder in the shooting death of Robert Louis "Dutch" Schwerin.

Coleman is the owner of Harry Coleman Investment in Cordova. Online profiles describe him as an investment real estate specialist.

Schwerin, 52, was shot to death during a dispute in the parking lot of the Trinity Commons Shopping Center in Cordova on Friday night.

Police say the men argued about one man's vehicle being parked too closely to the other's.
    
Joseph Sneed witnessed the altercation and recorded some of it on his cell phone.

He says he almost became a victim when he tried to intervene.
 
Sneed was leaving Panera Bread for the parking lot when he heard an argument erupting over a parking space. He says he soon realized it was a life or death situation.

"Part of my faith is to stand up against wrong," he said. "Decided the best thing we could do was to try to talk him down."
     
Sneed says he put himself between Coleman and Schwerin, who was with his three children.

"Tried my best to plead with him, to humanize the situation and tell him that these were children...this was somebody's father," he said.
 
Sneed says Coleman said nothing, grunted loudly and then drove the gun into his chest and backed him away.

"From seeing the look in his eyes, without him saying it, I felt he was telling me 'I'm going to kill this man. If you decide to get in the way, you're going to get hurt too.'"
     
Sneed says he moved out of the way and thought about trying to grab the gun.

"No sooner could the thought been processed, he fired," Sneed said.
    
Sneed says Schwerin collapsed in front of his three children.
    
Sneed rode with one of the children to the Memphis Police Department to give statements to the detectives.While in the police car, Sneed recorded their conversation.
   
In the recording, Schwerin's son said Coleman went to his car to get his pistol:

Victim's Son: The husband came over there (inaudible) why or anything, reached into the passenger's side of the Hummer and out came the gun. Walked up to Dad and started pushing and shoving and put the gun in Dad's mouth.

Sneed: Are you serious?

Victim's Son: Yeah.
     
Sneed says Coleman was very calm after the shooting and didn't attempt to run away.When the victim fell, the man calmly put his gun in his back pocket and told his wife 'That man won't be hitting you again". 

Sneed says Coleman's wife was very irate and was involved in the initial verbal argument with Schwerin.

Coleman is behind bars, charged with second degree murder.

Schwerin leaves behind three children who lost their mother to an illness several years ago.


Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.
 

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