As a writer, I routinely cover stories that are hard to believe are real. But every now and then, one just takes the cake.

This is simply unfathomable.

A Miami father has shot to death his older son, in order to protect his younger son.

The siblings were fighting over a game of pool.

Around 6 a.m. Sunday, police were called to the home of John and Marie Maloney.

According to witnesses, 30-year-old Joseph Maloney had been exhibiting “irrational” behavior for about 8 hours. Both he and his 26-year-old brother, James, had been drinking alcohol all night.

During a round of pool, a physical fight broke out between the two. It escalated into radical violence.

56-year-old John “verbally intervened.” When that didn’t help, he attempted to get Joseph off of his younger brother.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder described the terror:

“At one point, the parents heard their younger son pleading for his brother to stop choking him because he could not breathe. His brother continued to strangle his sibling with one arm, while holding a knife over him with his other hand.”

After repeatedly trying to stop son Joseph from dangerously hurting James, father John fired his revolver into Joseph, several times.
Marie again called the police, this time to say her husband had shot their son.

Joseph died on the scene.

As reported by the Miami Herald:

The house clearly looked like there had been a violent struggle, with broken pool sticks and an open butterfly knife, Snyder said.

The sheriff believes deadly force was prompted:

“The physical evidence and the witness statements indicate that at the time of the incident, Mr. Maloney believed that the deadly use of force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to his younger son. … Based on the circumstances that we think we have now…he would be justified in using deadly force. What you actually have is self-defense for someone else.”

John Maloney has not been charged.

Surely, there are no words for the thoughts and feelings of John, Marie, or James.

This is just so unimaginable.

I do wonder, however — all-night drinking notwithstanding — what kind of family has strangling, point-of-knife fights between adult siblings; what kind of father pulls out a gun (as opposed to, say, a baseball bat if the situation is dire) to stop fights between family members; and who shoots their loved one several times in order to get him to chill out.

I’m not making accusations — I’m substantially ignorant of the people and their circumstances. I’m merely saying this story raises a lot of large questions.

One thing without question is that tonight there’s a family in Stuart, Florida, that will never, ever, ever be the same.

-Alex

 

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