Grand jury: shooting was murder not self defense

A shooting that at first appeared to be a case of self defense is now classified as a murder.

An Onondaga County Grand Jury has returned an indictment of second degree murder against Jeffrey Peterson, 39, of 2501 East Genesee Street, Syracuse. Peterson is accused in the shooting death of Shaheen Bean in the early morning hours of June 26th.

At the time of the shooting, Peterson told police that he and his wife were returning home when they were confronted by an armed man, later identified as Bean. Peterson says he and Bean struggled for control of the gun when he heard several shots ring out and then Bean went limp.

But Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says the wounds didn TMt match Peterson's story. The results of the police investigation and the medical examiner's autopsy led a grand jury to conclude that Bean was murdered.

District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says Peterson's story seems to hold up to the point when Bean was shot the first time. Fitzpatrick says Bean suffered a serious leg wound that was bleeding heavily.

But Fitzpatrick says the medical evidence shows that Bean was also shot in the back of the head while he was on the ground. Fitzpatrick says, up to that point, Peterson was within his right to defend himself. But once Bean was down and incapacitated, it went from self defense to murder.

Peterson is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday. Defense attorney Sal Piemonte says his client will enter a not guilty plea. "This was an act of self defense and we are confident that in the long run Mr. Peterson will be exonerated. We have been cooperative through every step of the investigation."