The Glen Head gas station employee accused of fatally shooting a co-worker Saturday had brawled with the victim the day before, Nassau police said.
Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick of the Nassau police homicide squad said Lawrence Grammer, 71, of Glen Cove, brought a .45-caliber gun to work on Saturday because he anticipated another confrontation with his co-worker at a Citgo station at 126 Glen Head Rd. in Glen Head.
"There was friction," Fitzpatrick said during a news conference at Nassau police headquarters in Mineola Sunday. "They did not get along."
Fitzpatrick identified the victim as Bashir Ward, 35, of Valley Stream. His parents, Mohamad and Samira Ward of New Hyde Park, said Ward was a hardworking man who was devoted to his wife and 5-year-old daughter.
"Why? Why? Why?" Samira Ward cried shortly after attending Grammer's arraignment at First District Court in Hempstead. "I want my son back."
Grammer is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree criminal use of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Sunday morning at First District Court in Hempstead before Judge David Goodsell, who ordered Grammer held without bail.
Grammer, wearing a white Tyvek coverall, did not speak or show emotion as he was led out of Nassau police headquarters earlier Sunday.
Grammer is a registered sex offender who had been convicted of third-degree rape in 1997, according to Nassau police and court records. Fitzpatrick said Grammer’s criminal history also includes convictions for criminal contempt and third-degree assault, both misdemeanors.
Mohamad Ward said gun laws needed to be beefed up to prevent people like Grammer who have been convicted of violent crimes from obtaining firearms.
"The gun laws are too soft. Anybody can get a gun," he said. "He shot my son in cold blood."
Ward intervened after Grammer and a third person got into an argument Friday afternoon, police said. The confrontation between Ward and Grammer turned physical before it was broken up.
Grammer had worked at the Citgo for about 15 years, Fitzpatrick said. Ward had been there for less than a year. Fitzpatrick said police did not know what the argument was about but said the two men didn’t like each other.
“They didn’t get along," the detective said. “Bashir taunted him and called him certain names, according to [Grammer].”
Grammer went to his car and got his weapon after the conflict sparked up again Saturday morning, a couple of hours after the two men returned to work. Grammer shot Ward once in the head, police said. Ward was pronounced dead at the scene by a Nassau police medic.
Ward's parents Sunday afternoon waited for the Nassau medical examiner's office to release their son's body.
"There is too much evil in this world," Mohamad Ward said.