Raising cane trumps raising Cain, cops say
by The Times-Picayune
Monday January 07, 2008, 10:07 PM
By Jeff Adelson
St. Tammany bureau

An armed and bullying motorist found he picked on the wrong driver Saturday when he was subdued by a retired St. Tammany Parish sheriff's deputy, Slidell police said.

Armed only with a walking cane and quick reflexes, Richard Singletary, 73, fought off a gun-wielding motorist who had been driving aggressively and threatening him as he drove on Old Spanish Trail in Slidell, police said.

Singletary had just pulled out from a driveway when a white Chevrolet van pulled up behind him, Slidell Police Department spokesman Capt. Kevin Foltz said. Singletary later told police the van's driver, 42-year-old David Cooper, began blowing the horn, making "nasty finger gestures" and appeared to be yelling at him.

The situation escalated when Cooper pulled in front of Singletary and stopped short several times, apparently trying to get the vehicles to collide, Foltz said.

Singletary and Cooper both pulled into a parking lot in the 600 block of Old Spanish Trail, Foltz said. Cooper charged at Singletary brandishing a .357-caliber handgun and threatening to kill him, Foltz said.

As he approached, Singletary whacked Cooper on the head with his cane, forcing him to run back to his car and stow his gun while Singletary called the police, Foltz said.

Singletary, who retired as a Sheriff's Office lieutenant in 1987 after more than 26 years with the department, uses a cane because he has bad knees and a heart problem.

Cooper was treated and released from NorthShore Regional Medical Center for what a responding officer described as redness and swelling on the top of his head. He was issued a summons for aggravated assault.

Singletary could not be reached for comment Monday.

Foltz said neither police nor Singletary knew what prompted the incident.

"He couldn't even tell me," Foltz said. "He said, 'I don't know what this guy's problem was."

Foltz said in a similar situation, he would not recommend others try to emulate Singletary's action. "Personally, I would tell anybody that when that guy pulled into the parking lot, Richard should have never stopped," Foltz said. "But I think that was the policeman in him stopping. We would recommend that when the guy pulled into the parking lot to just leave or call 911 immediately."

Jeff Adelson can be reached at or (985) 645-2852.