A New York man is facing a manslaughter charge after he shot and killed a suspected burglar almost seven months ago. While the man’s family and attorney argue the incident is a clear case of self-defense, the District Attorney’s Office in Huntington Station, N.Y., claims the burglar was shot while running away.
Youssef Abdel-Gawad says he was only trying to protect his family when he fought back against a total of five intruders on Aug. 21, 2013, killing one of them.
The Abdel-Gawad family had surveillance cameras rolling on the night of the incident. The parents hope the footage will help clear their son of any wrongdoing. Abdel-Gawad’s brother, Ramy, said the entire situation is “sad.”
“Video will show, you know, he was doing what anybody would do to protect his family,” he added.
CBS New York has additional details on the incident:
Police said as four accomplices waited in a backyard shed, another crept onto the porch holding a gun. The family said as the would-be robber tried to gain entrance, he suddenly fired the weapon toward the sliding glass door and a flash went off.
The Abdel-Gawad parents and three sons said they were cowering inside. The three sons banded together – two picked up wooden sticks, and the third, Youssef, grabbed a shotgun.
“It is what anyone would do in a situation like this. Someone attacks your house with a gun, you know, fought back, and you know, returned fire, you know, so it is a clear case of self-defense,” said the defendant’s other brother, Karim Abdel-Gawad.
The brothers chased the alleged burglars from the porch, and Youssef fired, striking a 33-year-old man from Roosevelt in the back. That man, Jazzmen Bryant, later died of his wounds.
Police recovered a pellet gun at the scene of the crime and roughly seven months later, Abdel-Gawad was indicted on manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges.
Defense attorney Anthony Rutkowski told CBS New York that the DA’s office “indicated they didn’t think it was necessarily clear that a shot was fired, but you can actually see a flash and see the gun pull back after he pulls the trigger.”
“So we’re pretty confident that when we have a chance to present our side to the story, that he will be acquitted,” the attorney said.
Abdel-Gawad, who is reportedly enrolled at Suffolk County Community College as a criminal justice major and recently passed the NYPD exam, has previously been arrested on “marijuana charges, driver’s license suspensions and fleeing the directive of a police officer.”