NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City’s medical examiner has determined that a man’s death last year was due to wounds suffered 35 years earlier when he was shot and paralyzed in a nightclub melee.

The death is now being classified as a homicide.

Anthony Defonte was 69 when he died last year at his home in Midwood, Brooklyn. Police said he was shot in the back in Manhattan in September 1979. The medical examiner said the cause of death was sepsis with bronchopneumonia — a complication of the shooting.

Defonte’s girlfriend, Catherine Leone, told the New York Daily News that he had believed the shooting was mob-related and two men with shotguns came in to kill the club’s owner. She said he threw himself in front of a woman before getting shot.

Police are investigating, but Leone said the culprits are now dead.

“It’s not like you’re going to reopen anything,” she told the Daily News. “No. There’s no point to that. It’s done.”

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