Matthew Gerwitz, 28, of City of Tonawanda was arraigned Wednesday on 12 separate charges related to a shooting that resulted in the death of 32-year-old Joseph Marasco and injured City of Tonawanda police detective David Ljiljanich on May 26th.
Gerwitz is facing six counts of first-degree attempted murder, five counts of a weapon position, and one count of second-degree murder.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said this all started when Marasco and his friends were taking a trip down to the 7/11. His friends decided to drive, but Marasco decided to walk so that he could play Pokemon Go on the way.
“On his way down to the 711, apparently on this Pokemon Go game, you stop and find these Pokemon as you’re walking around. He happened to stop in front of the defendant’s home, randomly. Randomly stopped in front of the defendant’s to look for his Pokemon,” Flynn said. “He was then confronted by the defendant in front of his home.”
There was a verbal exchange, then he continued to walk to 7/11. Flynn says he told his friends that he was being harassed for playing the game, then they all got in the car to drive back.
He says on the way back, they stopped in front of Gerwitz’s home, they argued, and then Gerwitz allegedly shot Marasco, who later died.
While the City of Tonawanda Police were investigating the incident they attempted to talk with Gerwitz.
Flynn said Gerwitz went into his apartment, came out carrying a gun and a gun box, and then started firing. Detective Ljiljanich was shot in the process and has since recovered.
“What’s interesting is because there were shell casings from the officer’s guns on the porch, and so I think there’s a real question as to who shot first,” said Paul Dell, Gerwitz’s attorney.
“He fired, first… that’s what the evidence will show,” Flynn said.
If convicted Gerwitz faces a maximum of 175 years in prison.