Brooklyn man open fires at teens

June 21, 2011 5:20:02 AM PDT
A Brooklyn man who open fired on a group of teenagers is being hailed as a hero, but not from who you might think. It's from one of the victim's mother.

Police say a man opened a window in his home, pulled out an unregistered rifle and fired on the ground below. And although it meant a trip to the hospital for his next door neighbor, her family feels his reaction was justified.

When that sound of gunfire echoed through the quiet neighborhood, you might expect outraged neighbors.

"It's really starling and shocking, very upsetting," neighbor Harriet Dufour said.

You expect a defensive wife.

"He was a hero," she said.

You don't expect a message like that from the mother of one of the victims.

"I would say thank you," Larisa Kaprovskiy said.

It is a thank you from the mother of 21-year-old Lianna Kaprovskiy, who was hit in the leg by bullet debris, because she echoes the sentiment that the accused shooter, Thomas Dunikowski, is a hero.

"He tried to protect us," Kaprovskiy said.

Protect them, she says, from a group of teenagers crowding Steward Street in Marine Park, Brooklyn, late Saturday night. They allegedly knocked over trash cans, made a dent in her car and refused to leave.

"Twenty teenagers come in your face like that," she said.

Kaprovskiy explained that police were called, but never came. So investigators claim Dunikowski took it upon himself to fire 20 shots into the crowd.

"I don't know what was going to happen with us if he didn't take this action," she said.

Along with her daughter's injuries, the actions reportedly left a 17-year-old bleeding in the street with a gunshot wound to the neck and a 21-year-old with shrapnel in his arm. They are wounds that sparked no remorse from the suspect's wife.

"They were thugs, they were bothering all of us, they were wrong," Dunikowski said.

But police say Dunikowski was wrong, charging him with attempted murder for a reaction the loyal neighbor knows could have claimed a young life, including her daughter's.

"It's happened, we can't change it," Kaprovskiy said. "Thank God that the teenagers are alive."

All of the victims are expected to recover, but police say the teen shot in the neck does have some nerve damage.