Family members and investigators theorize that the dead son's behavior may have been triggered by the stress of his upcoming trial on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
A father’s choice to shoot one of his sons in order to save the life of another son has left him “shattered” in what investigators say was the justifiable use of deadly force.
John Maloney, 56, fatally shot his 30-year-old son Joseph early Sunday in The Florida Club community near Stuart, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.
Shortly before 6 a.m., deputies were called to the home after Maria Maloney told 911 dispatchers that her son was acting “irrationally,” Snyder said. Before deputies arrived, however, she called back to say her son had been shot.
Investigators determined that Joseph Maloney had been acting irrationally for hours and had been drinking with his brother, James, 26, before a fight began while the two were playing pool.
“At one point the parents heard their younger son pleading for his brother to stop choking him because he could not breathe,” Snyder said — adding that Joseph Maloney was also armed with a knife.
When it appeared his younger son was losing consciousness, John Maloney intervened.
“When all other attempts to stop his older son from causing death or serious bodily harm to his younger sibling failed, John Maloney fired his revolver hitting his older son multiple times,” Snyder said.
Joseph Maloney died at the shooting scene.
John Maloney is not being charged because he was protecting his younger son from great bodily harm or death, Snyder said.
“He was shattered,” Snyder said about John Maloney.
“I don’t know if there’s any way for me to adequately describe the look on his face.”
Family members and investigators theorize that Joseph Maloney’s behavior may have been triggered by the stress of his upcoming trial on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide stemming from a case that began in 2015.
His violent outbursts apparently began hours earlier with another encounter that left marks from a machete on the door to his father’s bedroom.
“It was a long night of trouble that culminated in this,” Snyder said while describing the scene inside the family home that included broken pool sticks, a knife on the ground and the machete marks on the door.