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NYC Officer Shoots Shoplifter Son in Stomach

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on August 26, 2013 1:26 PM

A more-than-tough-love father is alleged to have shot his son during an argument about the boy's Saturday arrest for shoplifting, leaving the NYC correction officer facing charges for assault and weapons possession.

Robert Smalls, 39, is accused of blasting his son in the stomach after his son Quasaun, 17, returned home after his shoplifting arrest and got into a physical confrontation with his dad, reports the New York Post.

Quasaun was rushed to the hospital for his injuries and told the Post he's doing "all right." But how will his father fare in the coming weeks?

Teaching Him a Lesson?

The conflict ending with an abdominal bullet wound allegedly began with a somewhat laudable goal: Smalls reportedly wanted to teach Quasaun a lesson by having the boy "sent through Central Booking for an arraignment," reports the Post.

For many minor offenses, like infractions and some misdemeanors, arresting officers will simply issue a suspect an appearance ticket, similar to a traffic ticket, which tells the individual when his or her date in court will be.

But as an experienced NYC correction officer who routinely deals with inmates, Smalls wanted his son to go through the more frightening experience of formal booking, where Quasaun would have been held in custody with other inmates until his arraignment.

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, this plan led to a fistfight between Quasaun and his father which ended with Robert Smalls opening fire on his son, reports the New York Post.

Bad Son or Bad Blood?

It is not clear yet whether the gun used by Smalls was his official weapon as a correction officer or his personal sidearm. But either way, the elder Smalls faces charges for both assault with a deadly weapon and criminal possession of a weapon.

Both crimes are serious felonies, and Smalls will need either a grand jury indictment or a preliminary hearing before his case heads to trial.

Smalls' attorney stated during his client's arraignment that Smalls "is willing to testify in the grand jury" to explain that he was surprised by his son in the dark and thought he was an intruder, reports The New York Post.

This wasn't the first time the two Smallses have involved the law in their scuffles. In 2011 the two had criminal complaints filed against each other after a "verbal blowout," reports the New York Daily News.

While this latest assault was more than a blowout, the correction officer and father hopes to use this history, as well as his son's arrest record, to defend himself as the case proceeds.

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