After spending more than three years behind bars awaiting trial, a man accused of the attempted murder and assault of Borough Park Shomrim members has been acquitted, although he has been found guilty of the illegal possession of a firearm.
The 2010 incident saw David Flores, 37, open fire on a group of Shomrim members who he says surrounded his car, convinced that he had been masturbating in front of local children. He struck four Shomrim members before being wrestled to the ground, and he himself was left bruised and with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jurors also acquitted Flores of the public lewdness charge.
The jury placed much of the blame for the incident on the Shomrim, volunteer neighborhood watch members who are often the first called to a suspected crime scene in Orthodox Jewish communities, according to the Daily News.
“The Shomrim can’t decide if they’re going to be judge, jury and executioner in the middle of the street,” said juror Niccole Person of Bed-Stuy, after the verdict was handed down in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
“They’re not cops,” said another juror, Marco Wylie.
… Flores’s lawyers claimed self-defense, describing an angry mob surrounding and banging on their client’s car and attempting to drag him outside.
“Call the police,” a groggy Flores told medics who treated him even though cops were at the scene at that point.
“Instead of calling the police, somebody made the mistake of calling the Shomrim,” defense lawyer Douglas Appel said.
While the Borough Park Shomrim’s chief said he accepts the jury’s decision, Assemblyman Dov Hikind was outraged. He places the blame on the outgoing district attorney.
“It’s beyond comprehension,” said Hikind. “Four unarmed people shot and hospitalized. How was this sick individual not found guilty? How could the DA possible lose this case? Now Flores is out and capable of creating more mayhem? This is our justice system upside down. It’s insane!”
Flores isn’t out though. He still faces five to 15 years for illegal possession of a firearm.