In Brooklyn subway shooting, who should be charged with a crime?

Prosecutors continued to gather evidence on Friday to determine whether anyone should be charged with a crime after a fight on a crowded A train in Brooklyn during rush hour on Thursday afternoon ended with a man getting shot.

Police said two men — Younece Obuad, 32, and Dajuan Robinson, 36 — got into a fight after Robinson began arguing with Obuad. Robinson pulled out a gun and Obuad grabbed it from him, then shot Robinson multiple times as the train pulled into Brooklyn’s Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets station, according to NYPD officials.

Cellphone video of the incident widely shared on social media shows at least part of the fight between the men. A third person caught on film — a woman who police said remains at large — also appears to have been involved in the altercation, allegedly stabbing Robinson before Obuad shot him, according to officials.

The video ends with the sound of gunshots as passengers rush out of the train. Police said Robinson was hospitalized in critical but stable condition on Friday.

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office said no criminal charges would be filed against the shooter “at this stage,” saying he was apparently acting in self-defense. Prosecutors have not said whether they will bring charges against the man who was shot, or against the woman seen in the video.

But legal experts who reviewed the footage said they weren’t shocked that Obuad has not been charged.

“You’re justified to use force to defend yourself or others,” said Brian Griffin, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor in Nassau County. “The question is whether it’s reasonable in those circumstances.”

Hermann Walz, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said he didn’t understand why Obuad was initially detained by police, adding that Obuad should have been questioned and released.

“What’s the short guy supposed to do?” he said, referring to Obuad. “The guy comes at him with a gun. This is not [a case where] some guy runs up and shoots somebody. … There’s an event here that has complications that most don’t have.”

Walz, a defense attorney who worked as a prosecutor in Brooklyn and Queens, said Robinson “needs to be under arrest,” even if he’s currently hospitalized. Video shows he took a gun out of his jacket pocket before Obuad grabbed it.

Still, the situation facing prosecutors is unusual, as it’s rare for someone to grab someone else’s gun and use it against them. “That’s weird, that happens in the movies,” Walz said.

He noted that the case reminded him of a bodega clerk who stabbed and killed an attacker at his Manhattan store in 2022. The clerk was initially charged with homicide before the case was dismissed.

Defense attorney Frederick Brewington said a self-defense argument in Obuad’s favor is bolstered because he was at the end of the subway car and lacked “a safe haven in which to retreat.”

According to Brewington, the critical moment in the incident was when Obuad disarmed Robinson: If Robinson was no longer under threat at that point and Obuad fired anyway, he could potentially be subject to charges.

“A district attorney should not fail to evaluate this thing from a holistic standpoint from beginning to end,” Brewington said.

Bahar Ostadan contributed to this story.

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