A Bellport grandfather who is a member of the famous Grucci fireworks family pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to charges that he fired a shotgun at his grandson after he confronted the young man early Thursday for making too much noise.
Joseph Grucci, 70, of Wards Lane, was arraigned before Judge Stephen Lotto on a first-degree assault charge in First District Court in Central Islip in connection with the shooting of Christopher Giresi, 20.
Police said Giresi was wounded in the torso and arm during the 3 a.m. dispute over Giresi's visitors at the home he shares with his grandfather.
Giresi was listed in stable condition after surgery at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue shortly after the shooting, said Det. Sgt. Daniel Molloy of the Fifth Squad detectives, who added that Grucci used his shotgun to fire at his grandson in front of the home.
"He's very lucky," Molloy said of Giresi.
Grucci is the first cousin of Felix Grucci Jr., said the defendant's attorney, Stephen McGiff of Patchogue. Felix Grucci is a former Republican congressman and an executive of Fireworks by Grucci.
Joseph Grucci, who was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond, fired the gun in self-defense because he felt threatened by his bigger grandson who stands 6 feet tall and weighs 220 pounds, McGiff said.
Grucci, his attorney said, is a slight man and stands about 5 feet, 6 inches tall.
"It is our contention at this point that Mr. Grucci was merely defending himself from physical attacks by his grandson," McGiff said. "He was threatened and actually, as I noted on the record, he was injured on the left arm."
But a Suffolk prosecutor said in court that Grucci was the aggressor who followed the victim outside and shot him twice after a verbal confrontation that escalated.
Lotto gave Grucci a stern warning from the bench and issued an order of protection against Grucci so he cannot return to the home.
"Stay away from him," Lotto said of Giresi. "Wherever he is, you're not."
"Off and on, they've had some problems in the past," Molloy said, adding that those incidents occurred some time ago, none recently. "We've been to the house."
With Gary Dymski