A man suspected of shooting dead his daughter-in-law’s father was ordered held in custody on Sunday for nine days after claiming in court that the incident was a misunderstanding and that he did not realize he was holding a live weapon.
Family members have said his claims do not line up with his actions, which include allegedly shooting the victim multiple times and attempting to then shoot other family members.
The victim was identified on Sunday as Yossi Yosefia, 60, who was shot dead in his home on Saturday in Ramat Gan. The man in custody, whose name is barred from publication, has been widely reported to be a 70-year-old man from Petah Tikva whose son was in the middle of messy divorce proceedings from Yosefia’s daughter, coupled with a custody dispute.
According to police, the shooter arrived at the victim’s home on Saturday morning and shot him at close range in the building’s stairwell. Family members said the suspect also threatened the victim’s daughter and his own grandchildren and aimed his weapon at them, though they remained physically unharmed.
During a hearing on Sunday in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, the suspect denied threatening any other members of the family and claimed that he believed the weapon was an air pistol.
“I wish I would die tomorrow and the truth would come out,” the suspect told the court, according to Kan news. “How can they say that I fired at my grandchildren?”
The suspect said that he had good relations with Yosefia, and did not intend to kill him. “I thought it was an air pistol,” he said in court. “They’re making me out to be a serial killer.”
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But the victim’s family members contradicted the suspect’s claims.
Hadas, another daughter of Yosefia, told Channel 13 news that the shooter waited for her father to arrive home from synagogue on Saturday and rode up together with him in the elevator.
“My brother-in-law’s father knew this, he planned this,” Hadas told the TV network. “We didn’t hear any shouting from the stairwell, only gunshots… my sister tried to go out to see what was happening, she opened the door… and he aimed the weapon at them.”
According to Hadas, her sister and mother slammed the door closed when they saw the shooter, “and he shot at the door… if she hadn’t managed [to shut it] he would have just killed everyone there,” she charged. Hadas said that a forensic doctor told the family that the suspect shot her father repeatedly all over his body.
Hadas is due to give birth next month, and a sister, Esti, was scheduled to get married in two weeks. Family members memorialized Yosefia as a beloved husband, father and grandfather.
“My mother and father were together for 40 years. I’ve never seen a love like theirs,” Hadas said. “They took away my father who loved us and united us and was always there for us.”
The suspect’s son was questioned by the police about his involvement or foreknowledge of the shooting. According to various reports, the gun used in the murder was not registered to the suspect, and he was said to have found it somewhere a decade ago and held on to it ever since.
The killing in Ramat Gan on Saturday was the 12th murder in Israel within a week and the seventh over the weekend.