The trial of a Brooklyn father who is accused of firing 27 shots at a group of disorderly teens outside his apartment began on Thursday.
Thomas Dunikowski, 32, says that he opened fire on the teens in self-defense, but prosecutors say he was acting like a crazed vigilante. Now it is up to a jury to decide.
“From the safety of his second-floor window (he) fired 27 shots directly at a group of rowdy teenagers,” said prosecutor John Sharples. He also noted that the teens were unarmed when Dunikowski allegedly fired at them with his Bushmaster AR-15 rifle.
According to Dunikowski, the teenagers were vandalizing cars and kicking over trashcans when he opened fire. His defense attorney, Jay Schwitzman, said that his client was confronted with a mob “ready to do battle” during the June 2011 incident.
One of the teens that was struck, Francis Ruan, testified on Thursday, The Daily News reported.
Dunikowski is charged with assault, which carries up to 25 years in prison, for hitting Ruan with a bullet.
Larisa Kaprovskaya's 21-year-old daughter, Yana, was struck by shrapnel during the incident. Larisa was supportive of Dunikowski after the shooting.
"He shot because he wants to protect us," said Kaprovskaya, 50. "I don't know what would have happened to us if he didn't try to protect us. I appreciate him."