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LI Man Facing Manslaughter Charge For Shooting, Killing Alleged Armed Burglar

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HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Family members have been arguing that it was a clear case of self-defense when a Huntington Station man shot and killed an alleged home burglar.

But Youssef Abdel-Gawad has been charged with manslaughter, even though he said he was only trying to protect his family, WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported Tuesday.

The family hopes surveillance video will clear their son, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

“It’s a sad situation,” said the defendant’s brother, Ramy Abdel-Gawad. “Video will show, you know, he was doing what anybody would do to protect his family.”

The Abdel-Gawads’ own surveillance cameras were rolling at the home, according to police, at the time of the incident back on Aug. 21 of last year.

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.

Now, almost seven months later, Youssef Abdel-Gawad has been indicted on manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges.

“This is not why our founding fathers developed the system,” Ramy Abdel-Gawad said. “This is absolutely absurd to see a district attorney defending criminals.”

The District Attorney’s office said the man who died was shot in a neighbor’s backyard as he ran away. A pellet gun was recovered from the group of alleged burglars.

“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,” said defense attorney Anthony Rutkowski. “So we’re pretty confident that when we have a chance to present our side to the story, that he will be acquitted.”

Youssef Abdel-Gawad is enrolled at Suffolk Community College as a criminal justice major, and he recently passed the NYPD exam, according to his family.

A judge ruled bail can be granted with restrictions. Abdel-Gawad must surrender his passport and agree to GPS monitoring — wearing an ankle bracelet inside his home.

The District Attorney’s office said Abdel-Gawad has been arrested in the past on marijuana charges, driver’s license suspensions, and fleeing the directive of a police officer.

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