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Opening arguments begin in trial of Crossgates Mall shooting suspect

May 01, 2017 09:23 PM

ALBANY - The trial of Tasheem Maeweather is now underway. He's accused of firing a gun inside Crossgates Mall in Guilderland. The shooting, last November, sent shoppers and mall employees running for cover.

Maeweather's attorney says his client went to the mall that day to do some shopping and when he heard gunshots, he ran like everybody else.

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Prosecuting Attorney Steven Sharp told jurors late Monday afternoon that Maeweather went to Crossgates Mall last year with a specific target in mind. However, with bullets flying through a crowded shopping center, perhaps the real horror of this story is that any one of 1,000 different random people could have died that day.

Maeweather, 21, is described by Sharp as a gang member who headed out to Crossgates Mall last November to settle a score with a rival gang member.

In his opening arguments to the jury, Sharp said:

"What began as an ordinary day of shopping at Crossgates Mall ended in horror. People were getting a jumpstart on Christmas shopping. Children were waiting in line to have their picture taken with Santa, but one man didn’t go to the mall to shop. That man went with a loaded gun and was prepared to use it. That man is Tasheem Maeweather."

Out of 41 prosecution witnesses, the key eyewitness will be an off-duty state trooper, although Defense Attorney Lee Kindlon says the prosecution has a couple of problems with that.

"The video that they’re going to start to introduce shows that the eyewitness couldn’t have seen what he claims he saw and there’s other proof that directly contradicts what he’s already testified that he saw," explained Kindlon. "As that comes out throughout the course of the week, I think we’re going to significantly undermine his testimony.

Inside the courtroom, Kindlon told jurors:

"This is a case of perception versus reality. We have to deal with the perception of what they want you to believe, compared to the reality of what happened. The reality is there were a couple of loud gunshots and Tasheem Maeweather was at the mall. The prosecution never found a victim. The prosecution never found a weapon."

Among the four felony charges Maeweather is facing: attempted murder, attempted assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.

At the time of the shooting, Maeweather was wearing an electronic bracelet being monitored by the Department of Probation for a previous drug conviction.

Testimony begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Trust NewsChannel 13 to bring you continuing coverage on WNYT.com and our future newscasts.

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Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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