A Metairie man who barged into a neighborhood bar armed with a rifle and pistols, firing bullets and holding people captive during a standoff with deputies a year ago, was sentenced on Monday (Aug. 15) to 20 years in prison.
Edmund Schlumbrecht, 53, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of attempted first-degree murder, nine counts of false imprisonment while armed with a dangerous weapon and four counts of aggravated criminal damage. He had been scheduled to stand trial this week.
The crimes happened on Aug. 21, 2015, at The Turtle lounge, at 8001 Karen St., just blocks from Schlumbrecht’s home. People who were inside the business told the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office that Schlumbrecht entered the business and ordered the victims at gunpoint to go to the rear patio, according to the arrest report.
Some victims ran out the back door, which they tried to lock behind them to trap Schlumbrecht inside, according to the report. He fired several shots at the door, with bullets penetrating it and almost striking the people on the outside.
As Schlumbrecht held nine people hostage, deputies surrounded the business and attempted to negotiate with him over the phone for about an hour. Schlumbrecht said at one point that he was going to kill everyone inside.
A bar patron jumped Schlumbrecht, and several other customers held him down and disarmed him, leading to his arrest about 12:30 a.m., on Aug. 22, 2015, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He was armed with an AK-47 rifle, a .40-caliber pistol and a .38-caliber derringer, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators suspected that Schlumbrecht had been in The Turtle earlier that evening and got into an argument with another patron, leaving the business and returning with the firearms.
Of the 13 victims in the attempted murder counts, five were women and eight were men. The aggravated criminal damage charges resulted from the bullet holes in the rear door. Five men and four women were the victims of the false imprisonment charges.
“I went into The Turtle bar with a gun,” Schlumbrecht testified in admitting his guilt. “I fired it in the bar. I held people against their will.”
In accepting the plea, Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Schlumbrecht to 20 years for each of the attempted murder charges, 10 years for each of the false imprisonment charges and 10 years for each of the aggravated criminal damage counts.
Judge Sullivan ran the sentences concurrently. He also will recommend to the state Department of Corrections that Schlumbrecht receive self-help programs and treatment while in prison, including assistance in receiving his GED.
Schlumbrecht initially pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. As such, his attorneys had planned to argue at trial that he suffered from a mental defect that deprived him of his ability to distinguish between right and wrong when he committed the crimes. A jury presiding over the trial would have had to make that determination.
Further, his attorneys also argued that Schlumbrecht was not mentally fit to stand trial. Doctors found he met the legal criteria to stand trial, and Judge Sullivan ordered that Schlumbrecht was competent on June 15.
Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Truhe and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.