A Day Later, More Questions Than Answers
This morning, friends of Carter Albrecht's are dividing their time between mourning the musician and searching for answers -- just what happened in the wee hours yesterday that led to Albrecht's being shot by a man who believed he was trying to kick down his door and break into his home? This morning, for instance, several of Carter's friends e-mailed Unfair Park, wondering whether the door through which Bill Logg shot Albrecht was actually glass -- the implication being that Logg could have and should have known at whom he was shooting.
So I called Sgt. Larry Lewis, the Dallas police homicide detective investigating the shooting, and he said he'd just gotten off the phone with a reporter from The Dallas Morning News, who'd already asked the same question this morning. Lewis said the door was only "partially glass," a few squares toward the top. Logg's fatal shot -- a warning shot, he insists, intended only to scare away a would-be home invader -- exited through one of the squares.
"They knew there was someone prowling in the back door, and they saw him standing there," Lewis tells Unfair Park this morning. "And they didn't know who he was. And these weren't taps on the door. When the guy retrieved his weapon, he repeatedly yelled, 'Get away, I'm gonna shoot!' Are you gonna peek through the blinds when someone's banging down your door? And I know people are asking, 'If they knew him, why did they have to shoot him?' But, again, you have someone forcibly trying to bring the door down at 4 in the morning ... and at this point, I don't know how well they knew [Albrecht]."
For now, Lewis is trying to answer all the questions Albrecht's friends are asking; he says it could be days, as there were five reported homicides yesterday, Albrecht's among them.
So till then, here's a note from Albrecht's best friend, bandmate and roommate, Danny Balis, who offers his own theory about how Albrecht's behavior was altered by a smoking-cessation drug. Danny also says goodbye to the man he considered a brother. --Robert Wilonsky
From Danny Balis' MySpace page:
there is no question; were he here right now, he would think this is totally fucking gay, and i would never hear the end of it.?
i found out this morning at 7:00 that my best friend was probably dead. i got the call from his girlfriend as she was being taken to the police station to be interviewed, as she saw the coroner's van and a stretcher with a covered body being loaded into it as the cops drove her from the neighborhood. about an hour and a half later, she confirmed it. my brother, bandmate, roommate, and the closest friend i have ever known had been shot to death earlier at 4:07 a.m.
we've all read the updated story in the dallas morning news, and it seems pretty accurate, according to the play-by-play of events she gave me throughout the night. what we don't know is why he ended up at the next door neighbor's back door, banging and kicking it at 4:06. nor do we know why carter acted out with his girlfriend in a manner that i have never seen in my near-ten years of friendship with him.
this was not the carter albrecht i knew. the police report failed to mention that for the previous week, he and his girlfriend were trying quit smoking with the prescription drug, "chantix". they had both started the program at the same time, and had been on it for a week. monday was supposed to be their quit day. carter had not slept much the night before, and had consumed approximately five cocktails in a two hour period on sunday eve. this was not unusual, as carter had a very good tolerance for the drink. chantix does clearly state on the box that it's drowsy effects could be intensified by alcohol. the two also complained of having crazy, insane, almost horrific dreams that week. they jokingly referred to them as "chantix dreams" when comparing them. i later learned through a close friend that he had firsthand knowledge of two separate couples who had tried to quit smoking using chantix, and in each case, one spouse had tried to kill the other with no previous domestic conflct. one was successful, and many refer to this drug as a psychotic.
was it a combination of sleep deprivation, booze, and the stop-smoking pills that sent him off? it's the only explanation i can even think of. what was described to me sounded like a walking black out. in my years of knowing him, and all the girls he dated, i have never once heard of him getting abusive or physical with them. it was not his character. especially with the woman that i know for a fact he loved dearly. unfortunately, the morning news story paints him as a batterer to the casual reader that did not know him. this, he was undeniably not.
so why banging on the next door neighbor's back door? who knows. same waking black out state? confusion thinking he was knocking on his girlfriend's door? this we will never know. any other explanation just doesn't add up.
what i can tell you about carter is that he was the best musician i have ever played with. it may sound trite, but it was an honor to play music with him, create and record with him, laugh and joke with him, for the better part of the last ten years. he was a unique musician. i don't think enough people got to hear him. not only was he the backbone of sorta, playing keys and innovative guitar, he was my favorite solo artist/bandleader i've seen closely. if you got him, you got him. he was one of a kind. a dylan. an elliott smith. he had "it". that extra something that set him apart from basically everyone else. i often joked with him that no one would really appreciate him until he died. his soulful, yet punk voice...his genius lyrics that were probably above the heads of most. and his playing. wow. today, when dozens of musicians gathered at our house, trying to make sense of this mess, i said more than once that "the thing that's so wasteful about him being gone, is that he was better than all of us." if anyone was going to save music in the dallas scene, it was him.
he had many opportunities to go to new york, LA, and could have played sideman to anyone. but he chose to stay in dallas, where his family lived, his friends played, and his loyalty was rooted. he was a character-driven slave to honesty. and i learned alot about being truthful and up-front from him. you could hear it in his voice, his words, in the general way he carried himself. he was the real deal. most of the rest of us were just poseurs next to him.
he meant the world to me. i will never see him again on this earth, and i am heartbroken from it. i can't think about tomorrow because he is supposed to be there. he is supposed to be playing his piano in the dining room, or watching the rangers while eating some crap from a greenville fast-food place. we are supposed to talk about the goofy stuff that happened on the hardline that day. we are supposed to talk about books (usually a one-sided conversation with me on the short side) and the mavs and girls and music.
but my best friend isn't here anymore. and i honestly don't know what to do.
i guess the only thing left to do, is let everyone in on something you may not have known. carter was a very intelligent guy. smart as hell. borderline genius. so my final dig on my buddy is this...the last movie he watched was "snakes on a plane". well, to his credit, he didn't watch all of it. love you, buddy.
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