Julio Vasquez Larosa fired shots at five people in a garage on Elizabeth Street near Getty Avenue after they threw bottles and taunted him.
Larosa, 34, of Paterson, is charged with five counts of attempted murder and weapons offenses.
“These individuals attacked him by throwing and brandishing beer bottles against him,” said Larosa’s attorney Frank Sciro on Friday. “He was taunted on a fairly consistent basis by these people.”
Sciro said that doesn’t justify Larosa’s actions. He wanted to tell the court the incident did not happen in a vacuum.
On September 19 at about 4:10 p.m., Larosa allegedly fired shots at five people, two men sustained gunshot injuries, at 40 Elizabeth Street. One victim sustained gunshot wounds to his chest, arm, and leg while the other suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen, said Passaic County assistant prosecutor Mariam Qudah during a detention hearing on Friday. The other three people did not suffer any gunshot injuries.
Qudah said surveillance footage shows Larosa walking toward the garage. He is seen holding a black handgun. He opens the garage and fires shots. He then takes few steps back on the sidewalk. Then returns to fire more shots at the victims. Larosa runs towards Getty Avenue and makes a turn towards Hemlock Street after the shooting.
The victims are seen running out of the garage and falling on the sidewalk because of the injuries. The five victims were inside the garage watching television and hanging out, said the assistant prosecutor.
Larosa and one of the victims were involved in a verbal argument the night before, said Qudah.
Sciro suggested Larosa be released with home confinement. The assistant prosecutor argued for his detention in the Passaic County Jail until the charges are resolved.
Sciro said Larosa has a job and risk of flight is minimal. He cares for his mother who is going through chemotherapy, said the attorney.
Larosa has an aggravated sexual assault adjudication from 2001 and a firearm adjudication from 2004. He allegedly had the firearm at an education institution. He was a juvenile during both incidents.
Larosa has a drug offense from 2020.
Passaic County Superior Court judge Donna Gallucio ordered him detained. She appeared disturbed at the shooting having taken place in broad daylight.
“These were very, very violent acts,” said the judge.
Larosa became upset as the judge explained her decision.
“Ya picturing me like I’m a monster. I’m not no monster,” said Larosa. “I haven’t got a chance to say my verdict.”
Larosa could spend his entire life in state prison if convicted on all of the charges.
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