Opening Statements Given in Crossgates Mall Shooting Trial
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The prosecution and defense gave opening statements Monday in the trial against a man accused of firing a gun in Crossgates Mall causing a mall-wide evacuation.
Tasheem Maeweather is charged with attempted murder, attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and reckless endangerment. Maeweather is already sentenced to 9 years in prison because he was on probation for a drug charge from 2015 when he arrested for the mall shooting.
Maeweather was arrested and charged two days after the incident. No one was seriously injured in the shooting, but the mall was closed for the rest of that day.
The prosecution claims Maeweather not only fired two gun shots inside Crossgates Mall on November 12, 2016, but that he intended to cause someone's death. The defense says none of that is true, and there's no victim and no weapon in this case.
Steven Sharp of the district attorney's office began his opening statement by painting a picture for the jury of what Crossgates Mall was like that day. He says families were starting holiday shopping, and kids were waiting in line to get their picture taken with Santa.
Sharp says Maeweather is part of one of two gangs in the Capital Region called Uptown. He says Maeweather went to the mall with other members of his gang that day, and they ran into members of a Troy gang called the Young Gunners.
He claims these two gangs do not get along, and one of the members threw a punch at Maeweather, and that's when he says Maeweather pulled out a gun and fired two shots. Sharp says one of the bullets landed in the back of the escalator, coming close to going through the Santa display. One bullet was never recovered.
He says the actual incident is not on video. Sharp also spoke about the panic that ensued after those shots were fired.
Defense attorney Lee Kindlon began his opening statement by saying "this case is about perception versus reality." He says his client was at the mall that day, but did not fire a gun and instead did what many other shoppers did after hearing the gunshots: He ran.
He says there is no victim for this case and a gun was never found. Kindlon also claims the prosecution ignored leads and only focused on the one eyewitness account from an off-duty state trooper.
He maintains that not only is his client innocent, but he is not in a gang and never has been.
"The reality is they tracked Tasheem on GPS for days before and days after," Kindlon said, "and you'd think that all of the police involved in this would have looked at all of these places for a gun or some sort of lead in the investigation, but the reality is they just have nothing else than a single eyewitness who claims he saw what happened."
The prosecution has 41 witnesses they plan to call to the stand in this case. Court resumes at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
As for whether or not Maeweather will take the stand, Kindlon said his client already said he's not guilty and that's enough for him.