Ridgewood, New York

From New York City’s WABC of August 1, 2007

Man turns the table on alleged robbers

One assailant dead, the other hospitalized

A Queens man opened fire during an alleged robbery attempt outside a Ridgewood home — shooting his two assailants, killing one.

Eyewitness News is told the 42-year-old man was outside 60-34 Putnam Avenue when he was approached by the two suspects just before 10:30 p.m. last night.

When the two men allegedly attempted to rob him, the man opened fire.

Officials say one of the alleged robbers, a 31-year-old man, was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital. The other, a 32-year-old man, was shot in the arm and back and taken to the hospital in stable condition.

The 42-year-old gunman was taken to the 104 Precinct and is being questioned. Police say four guns — a .22 caliber, a .25 caliber, a .357 caliber and a .380 caliber — were taken into custody at the scene. Numerous shell casings were also recovered.

Authorities are trying to determine the legality of those weapons to determine if any charges will be filed.

From New York’s amNY.com of August 1, 2007

Cops: Homeowner fatally shoots gunman

A Queens contractor shot two armed men outside his Ridgewood home, killing one and wounding the other when they showed up to collect money from him, police sources said Wednesday.

Lulzim Kupi, 42, was charged with second-degree murder and gun possession, but suggested he was acting in self-defense when he opened fire Tuesday night, killing Gentian Kasa, 31, and wounding Redinel Dervishaj, 32.

My family,” Kupi told reporters as he was led by police from the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood. Kupi opened fire when one of the suspects said they’d go after Kupi’s wife if he didn’t come up with the money, believed to be $20,000, sources said.

Kupi’s wife and one son — two other children are visiting relatives in Albania — and his parents were inside the Putnam Avenue home at the time, neighbors said.

When the suspects tried to get around Kupi and into the home, Kupi fought back and all three men pulled out guns as the confrontation moved up the block, sources said.

Kupi fired first, killing Kasa with several bullets from his .357-caliber handgun, police sources said.

“The guy was laying down right there,” said neighbor Tony Piliego, 77. “Face up. No moving — nothing.”

Kupi then grabbed Kasa’s .380-caliber handgun and chased Dervishaj, who tripped and dropped his .45 caliber handgun near 60th Place, sources said.

Kupi shot him several times with Kasa’s gun, sources said.

As police raced to the scene, Kupi sat on the curb and told an officer: “I’m the one you’re looking for,” sources said.

Police said they recovered the three guns at the scene, plus another that Dervishaj had. Dervishaj was treated at Elmhurst General Hospital and is expected to recover.

Kupi owns Marvelous Stairs, a stairway installation business in Ridgewood, and he told detectives he also builds bars in local Albanian social clubs. Detectives weren’t sure if Kasa and Dervishaj were trying to shake him down for protection money or if Kupi owed them money for some other reason.

Sources said detectives are also exploring whether the confrontation was linked to Albanian organized crime.

Shortly before the 10:25 p.m. confrontation, Kupi got a phone call with word that Kasa and Dervishaj were heading to his house, sources said.

Sources said Kupi stepped outside and waited.

Kasa, who lived in the neighborhood with his wife, was described by neighbors as quiet and somewhat mysterious.

“He seemed like a nice guy,” said one neighbor, Lazlo Reisinger, 34. “But I don’t think you want to mess with him.”

From the New York Times of August 2, 2007

Contractor Calls Shooting of Two Men Self-Defense

One man was killed and another wounded after being shot in Queens late Tuesday by a contractor who told investigators that the men had demanded $20,000 from him and threatened to harm his wife, law enforcement officials said.

The contractor, Lulzim Kupi, 42, told investigators he shot the men in self-defense. He was expected to be charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, the police said. One man who was shot, Redinel Dervishaj, 32, was in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center with gunshot wounds to the arm and torso, law enforcement officials said. The other man, Gentian Kasa, 31, died after being shot several times, at least once in the head, officials said.

The shootings took place about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday on Putnam Avenue, in Ridgewood, close to a tan brick row house Mr. Kupi shares with his wife, three children and two adults believed to be his or his wife’s parents. According to law enforcement officials, Mr. Kupi, an Albanian immigrant, said he had been at dinner with relatives in Connecticut hours before the shooting, when he received a threatening phone call from either Mr. Kasa or Mr. Dervishaj. He told investigators that the caller demanded $20,000 in cash.

Mr. Kupi told investigators he and his family went home, and some time later, he got another call and went outside with a .357 magnum in his pocket or tucked in his waistband.

The police said they believed the three men knew each other from the contracting business, possibly through a job or jobs building bars for Albanian social clubs.

According to the officials, when Mr. Kasa and Mr. Dervishaj arrived, Mr. Kupi said he told them he did not have the money. They then tried to brush past him into the house, reaching for guns, and threatening to rape his wife, Mr. Kupi told investigators. Mr. Kupi told them that Mr. Dervishaj pulled out a .45 semiautomatic as Mr. Kasa struggled to pull a .25-caliber gun from his waistband.

Mr. Kupi said he got his gun out first and shot Mr. Dervishaj, then chased Mr. Kasa down the street. Investigators said Mr. Kupi told them Mr. Kasa had a second gun, a .380-caliber pistol, which he dropped and Mr. Kupi picked up. Mr. Kupi told investigators he then shot Mr. Kasa in the head with that gun.

Mr. Kasa was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead, and investigators found nearly $1,000 cash in his clothing, the police said.

Mr. Kasa, who lived about six blocks from Mr. Kupi, had an 8-month-old baby, and his wife was five months pregnant, a neighbor said. The neighbor said she last saw Mr. Kasa on his stoop about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The police said they found all four guns and four spent shell casings after the shooting, which jarred residents of Putnam Avenue. The .357 contained six rounds, all spent, the police said.

Mr. Kupi had no known criminal history, law enforcement officials said. His business, Marvelous Stairs and Handrails, in Flushing, was closed yesterday.

From the New York Post of August 3, 2007

‘LOW’ BAIL FOR SLAY SUSPECT

An Albanian immigrant – the only man standing after a gun battle with two armed thugs – faced a judge in Queens yesterday where the prosecutor said he could well go free after a grand jury hears his self-defense claim.

Lulzim Kupi, 42, was held on $100,000 bail – low for someone charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Prosecutor Michael Vozzo told Judge Gene Lopez that he would normally ask for no bail for a murder suspect.

“However, in this case, we feel there is a possibility a grand jury [would return a] ‘no true’ bill.”

If that happened, Kupi would not be prosecuted.

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