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Memphis, Tenn., police are investigating whether veteran accused of killing homeless men targeted others

Memphis police say they are investigating whether a U.S. Army veteran accused of killing a homeless man targeted other homeless people in the city

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis police are investigating whether a U.S. Army veteran accused of killing a homeless man targeted other homeless people in the city, a spokesman said.

Kurt Loucks, 41, was charged Friday with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Shaun Rhea.

Loucks attacked Rhea early Friday morning in downtown Memphis, police said in an affidavit. A security guard at a nearby hotel said he saw Loucks use pepper spray on Rhea while Loucks was armed with a knife, police said.

Loucks entered his apartment but returned and shot Rhea with a rifle, according to police, citing the security guard’s statement. Rhea, who was unarmed, died at a hospital, police said.

Loucks is being held without bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 9.

Blake Ballin, Loucks’ attorney, said he was investigating whether Loucks acted in self-defense during two confrontations with Rhea.

Loucks served as a health care specialist in the Army from September 2007 to August 2013, said Bryce S. Dubee, Army spokesman. Loucks served in Afghanistan from March 2009 to March 2010 and left the army with the rank of private first class.

Loucks was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army because he was on disability due to post-traumatic stress disorder, Ballin said.

The guard told police there had been several incidents in which Loucks had attacked homeless people, the police statement said. Police are investigating whether Loucks has targeted homeless people in the past, Memphis police spokesman Christopher Williams said in an email.

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