An off-duty correction officer who was arrested after shooting his 17-year-old son in their Woodside home is claiming he mistook the teen for an intruder, according to court documents and published reports.
On Sunday, August 25, around 4:30 a.m., Robert Smalls, 39, and his son were having a verbal argument inside their residence, according to the criminal complaint. After the teenager attempted to punch his father twice, the complaint alleges, Smalls took out a pistol and shot his son in the stomach.
The teen was taken to an area hospital.
Yet, according to court documents, Smalls told police he was asleep when his son came into the house after he was told not to come home because he had threatened his father. Smalls said there were no lights on and he heard someone approaching even after he shouted “Police Stop, Who is that?”
He said he then saw someone approach with one hand in a pocket as if they were going to pull out a weapon. Fearing immediate danger, Smalls said he pulled out his firearm.
“By the time I realized it was my son, the firearm had already discharged,” Smalls said.
He has been charged with assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon.
“We are fully supportive of our officer and will do everything possible to ensure his legal rights are protected,” said Norman Seabrook, president of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.
According to reports, the teen, who allegedly had a prior record, left the hospital of his own accord.