Louis Albarado, 68, Thibodaux, was charged with terrorizing, following an incident at the Walmart at 410 North Canal Blvd., the Thibodaux Police Department said.
Shortly after 2:09 p.m. Dec. 23, the suspect entered the store and became irate after someone took his grocery cart while he wasn't looking, police said.
Albarado then accused several customers of taking the cart and made threats about "shooting up the store," police said.
The post-traumatic stress disorder his attorney says he is suffering from is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event -- either experiencing it or witnessing it, according to the mayoclinic.org website.
After management escorted Albarado out of the store, police were called to the scene and arrested him.
During questioning Albarado admitted he had planned to retrieve a gun from his vehicle and shoot the person who took his cart, police said. A search of the suspect's vehicle led police to a loaded .44 magnum handgun.
Albarado's attorney, Eric Santana, said there is a lot more to the story.
"We deny Mr. Albarado admitted to returning to his vehicle to retrieve a gun," Santana said. "Mr. Albarado, in response to a store employee asking him what he thinks should be done, stated the person who took his buggy should be shot. Louis said this out of anger and frustration and it was not directed toward anyone.
"When questioned by police as to whether he had a gun, he told police he always keeps his gun in his vehicle. Due to his military service, Mr. Albarado can barely stand. In fact when told to leave the store, he left but only made it to the parking lot before he had to sit on the curb and regain his energy to continue his walk back to his car."
Albarado has no criminal history and served his country in the military for over 10 years, Santana said.
Santana said his client's experiences in Vietnam have left him suffering from multiple mental health and physical issues and the VA hospital classifies him as "100 percent disabled."
Albarado is a decorated war veteran whose life has been thrust into chaos since his arrest, Santana said.
According to military records submitted by Santana, Albarado received a National Defense Service medal, a Vietnam Service medal, two Bronze Stars and other medals and commendations in the 1970s.
Albarado's arrest also has put his wife's health in jeopardy, Santana said.
"Mr. Albarado's wife is insured through his VA insurance and was receiving home-health care," Santana said. "However, because of Mr. Albarado's charges, her home-health care was terminated. She is direly ill, and we are desperately trying to re-establish that care."
Although Santana declined to discuss the specifics of his client's arrest, he said mental health played a significant part.
"I understand Walmart's perspective in regards to notifying police because they have certain protocol to follow regarding the safety of their customers," Santa said. "However, this situation is not as it appears. This is an opportunity to provide Mr. Albarado with the help he needs instead of sending him to jail.
"Mr. Albarado is approaching 70 years old and can barely stand. I feel we as a community can simultaneously ensure public safety while providing our veterans with the mental health care they deserve. This is an unfortunate situation in which Mr. Albarado's wife is now without medical care and her medical condition is quickly deteriorating."
Albarado was released from the Lafourche Parish jail after posting a $1,500 bond. His arraignment is scheduled for Friday.
This article is written by Dan Copp from The Houma Courier, La. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.