Father devastated after he fatally shot older son who was threatening to stab and kill his younger son
56-year-old John Maloney, who was forced to shoot and kill his 30-year-old son after a confrontation, was been arrested because he was 'justified in his use of deadly force'
A father had to shoot one of his sons dead after he held his brother in a chokehold with a "rather large butterfly knife" over his head. 56-year-old John Maloney was reportedly left "shattered" after having to take the drastic step to protect his other son, with Martin County Sheriff William Snyder confirming that the father had not been arrested or charged because he was justified in his use of deadly force.
According to People, Maloney's wife Marie had called 911 at around 5:47 am on the morning of Sunday, December 16 and told the dispatcher that their 30-year-old son, Joseph, was acting "irrational and needs to be Baker Acted." The Florida Mental Health Act, better known as the Baker Act, allows for involuntary examination and detention of an individual who can be proven to be a danger to themselves or someone else, and the circumstances certainly indicated that Joseph posed an imminent threat.
A conflict between Joseph and 26-year-old brother James — which had allegedly erupted over a game of billiards after the two had been drinking the previous night — had escalated to the point where the elder brother had James in a chokehold and was threatening to stab him with a knife.
It reached a point where James was "pleading for his brother to stop choking him because he couldn't breathe." Maloney is said to have "verbally intervened in an attempt to get the older sibling Joseph off James," but when that failed, grabbed his revolver and fired multiple rounds into the 30-year-old.
The entire altercation unfolded while officers were still on the way to their residence, located at the 900 block of Southwest Bromelia Terrace in Stuart, in response to the first call, with Marie then calling 911 again to report that Maloney had shot Joseph. On arrival, they found the elder brother dead from several gunshots.
It emerged that Joseph had been violent even in the lead up to the fatal confrontation with James. His parents were reportedly forced to lock themselves in their room for safety after the 30-year-old attacked the door using a machete. The story was confirmed when investigators found machete marks on the door.
Joseph also had a previous run-in with the law. People reported that the 30-year-old was facing an upcoming trial on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide stemming from a wrong-way crash in 2015 that resulted in the death of a high school football coach. Speaking about the incident, Snyder said, "The physical evidence and the witness statements indicate that at the time of the incident, Mr. Maloney believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent the death or great bodily injury to his younger son."
"He (the father) was shattered," he continued. "I don't know that there's any way for me to adequately describe the look on his face."