Man accused of killing mugger in Queens arraigned on 26 gun charges, bail doubled

Friday, June 2, 2023
Man accused of killing mugger arraigned on 26 gun charges
Charles Foehner appeared in court on 25 counts of criminal possession of a weapon after he claims he shot a would-be mugger to death in Queens. N.J. Burkett has the story.

KEW GARDENS, Queens (WABC) -- A man from Queens who allegedly shot and killed a suspect who was trying to rob him appeared in court Friday on 26 counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Bail was set at $50,000 for Charles Foehner, 65, during his arraignment before Judge Jerry Iannece in Queens Criminal Court.

Judge Iannece showed Foehner no sympathy during the brief court appearance, doubling the amount initially requested by the Queens District Attorney's Office.

"The defendant was on the street with a loaded, unlicensed gun," Iannece said. "There are too many shootings in this city! The court is quite concerned with what we see."

Foehner was walking to a parking garage when he said the robbery suspect, identified as 32-year-old Cody Gonzalez, demanded money.

Investigators say Foehner, a retired doorman, claims he shot the would-be mugger to death after the assailant lunged at him with a sharp object at 2 a.m. on Wednesday.

On Thursday, investigators revealed that the robbery suspect was not armed with a weapon, but had a pen. The 32-year-old had more than a dozen prior arrests.

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Foehner said nothing to reporters as he was led from the 102nd Precinct in handcuffs late Thursday afternoon after Queens prosecutors filed weapons charges including, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm.

Police then confirmed later in the evening that Foehner was charged with 26 counts of criminal possession of a weapon, but not charged in the fatal shooting.

It comes after a search warrant recovered more than two dozen firearms, which included pistols, shotguns, rifles, three assault rifles, an AK47, 153 loaded high-capacity magazines, and two body armor vests. Foehner has a license for five rifles.

Foehner told prosecutors, "I pulled the gun out of my pocket. It didn't go off accidentally. I pulled the trigger. I emptied the revolver. Last night I was carrying a firearm because of the crime in the city...I've had it since the 1990s. I obtained it in a bar one night. The firearms are mine and mine alone."

The retired doorman allegedly told detectives he collects the firearms as a hobby. But Foehner does not have a permit for the pistol or for most of the weapons he collected.

A man in Queens shot and killed another person who was allegedly trying to rob him, police say. NJ Burkett has the latest on the investigation.

Foehner was originally set to be arraigned on Thursday night, but in a bizarre twist, the judge recused herself in the middle of the proceedings and adjourned the arraignment for Friday.

The judge signed off on the search warrant related to the shooting, but since he's not being charged with the shooting itself, the judge is now connected to aspects of this case that are not within the scope of the charges.

Judge Iannece took over the case on Friday.

The shooting happened in a driveway outside Foehner's apartment building where a surveillance camera captured the confrontation.

The video shows Foehner backing down the driveway as the assailant closed in on him. Foehner draws his gun, and the assailant keeps on coming. The shots were fired from a distance of about eight feet.

Foehner lives in a building in the Kew Gardens section of Queens with his wife. His neighbors have expressed support for him.

Angel Rodriguez lives just down the hall.

"Very friendly, respectful. I've never seen anything from him that would indicate malice," Rodriguez said. "So, my interactions with him have always been pleasant. Nice guy. Family guy."

Foehner is due back in court on Monday, June 5.

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