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US teacher who shot masked son 'devastated'

03 October 2012, 10:50

New Haven — A popular teacher who fatally shot a knife-wielding prowler in a ski mask and then learned it was his 15-year-old son is devastated and filled with questions about what the boy was doing, his attorney said on Monday.

Jeffrey Giuliano went outside with a gun at around 01:00 on Thursday when his sister called to say someone was trying to break into her house next door in New Fairfield, a town of nearly 14 000 people about 80km from New York city.

Giuliano saw a masked person holding a weapon come toward him in a threatening manner and shot him, state police said. He learned later the person he killed was his son Tyler Giuliano.

Jeffrey Giuliano, a fifth-grade teacher at a nearby school, and his wife "are not well", his attorney Gene Zingaro said.

"Their family is hurting," Zingaro said. "They've been broken in half by this unspeakable tragedy, which really is three tragedies all in one."

Giuliano and his wife don't know what Tyler, who didn't have any trouble with the law, was doing, Zingaro said.

Immediate co-operation

"The family has literally hundreds of questions as to what Tyler was doing, why he was wearing what he was and why he was carrying what he was," Zingaro said. "Those questions will probably go unanswered forever."

Giuliano and his wife co-operated immediately with authorities, allowing them to search their home without a warrant and giving a sworn statement, Zingaro said. He called it a justifiable shooting and said Giuliano had a permit to carry the gun.

"In my opinion, Mr Giuliano will not be charged with any type of offense, weapon or otherwise," Zingaro said.

Zingaro said when he arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting, Giuliano was inconsolable and physically ill. He said Giuliano cried and vomited.

"He was in disbelief and a state of shock," Zingaro said.

Back injury

Shortly after the shooting Giuliano, feared it was his son he had shot, but he didn't receive confirmation for at least several hours, Zingaro said.

The fears, Zingaro said, were based on the fact that Giuliano learned his son was missing and other reasons the attorney would not discuss, citing the ongoing investigation.

Giuliano sustained a back injury during the shooting, Zingaro said, but he would not say if that was because of physical contact with Tyler.

State police say they are continuing to investigate the shooting. No charges have been filed.

Giuliano and his wife adopted Tyler and his sister about four years ago. The children's biological father was heading to prison, and the children would have gone into an orphanage if the couple, who had three other children, had not adopted them, Zingaro said.

Immeasurable loss

Tyler and his adoptive father shared a love of music and the Civilian Air Patrol, in which Tyler served as a cadet and enjoyed flying gliders and small aircraft, Zingaro said.

Giuliano attended a memorial service for his son on Sunday night. He was "in a state of extreme anguish" and was "utterly devastated", Zingaro said.

"It's a loss that cannot be measured," he said.

New Fairfield First Selectman John Hodge provided a statement that was read on behalf of the Giuliano family at the memorial service, thanking the community for its support.

"So many people have rallied behind this family in a way that touches our hearts and gives us strength," the statement said.

- AP

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