On Sept. 27, 2012, a fifth-grade teacher shot and killed a knife-wielding prowler outside of his sister’s home. After the shooting, it was revealed that the prowler was actually the man’s adopted son.
Jeffrey Giuliano’s sister called him around 1 a.m. to tell him that someone was trying to break into her home, which was right next door to his own.
According to authorities, Giuliano went outside to investigate and saw a “masked person holding a knife come toward him in a threatening manner.”
Giuliano shot the man, who died of multiple gunshot wounds. He was later told that the victim was his 15-year-old son, Tyler.
Prosecutors ruled today that no charges would be pressed against Giuliano.
State Attorney Stephen Sedensky III wrote that Jeffrey Giuliano reasonably believed the masked person “presented him with the threat of imminent death or great bodily harm,” and that he needed to use deadly force to defend himself.
Giuliano’s attorney Gene Zingaro has said that at the time of the incident, Giuliano thought that the masked person was holding a gun. Only later did he learn that it was actually a knife. He was also carrying a roll of duct tape.
“My client felt like his life was in imminent danger at the time he fired,” Zingaro said in 2012. “In my opinion, Jeff Giuliano had a fear of being shot at the time he fired his weapon.”
The incident occurred in New Fairfield, Conn., some 50 miles outside of New York City. Reports of a break-in and sexual assault had been recorded in the same town.
“Weighing heavily on his mind was the fact that there was a forced entry rape a day or two before in New Fairfield,” Zingaro stated, noting that his client might have thought he was about to intercept “the same intruder.”
Zingaro also said that Giuliano had shouted several commands to the masked man before the shooting. Zingaro stated that Tyler’s response to the shouts had not been audible, but that Tyler had "growled in an aggressive manner."
The popular fifth-grade teacher, known affectionately to students at Meeting House Hill School as Mr. G., holds summer music and zoology camps for students.
He and his wife had adopted Tyler and his sister about four years before the shooting. If the Giulianos, who had three other children, had not adopted the siblings, they would have gone into foster care.
Tyler and his adoptive father bonded over their love of music and the Civilian Air Patrol, in which Tyler served as a cadet. Giuliano plays guitar in a local rock band that raises money for charity.
Zingaro said that Tyler had never had any trouble with the law. Neither Giuliano nor his wife know what Tyler was doing on the night of the incident, and will probably never have answers to their “questions as to what Tyler was doing, why he was wearing what he was and why he was carrying what he was.”
“Obviously we’re relieved,” Zingaro said of the court’s decision. “That being said, today is not a happy day for the Giuliano family. We expected this result from the beginning, because we always felt like he was justified in his actions that night.”
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