Maeweather faces four felony charges for Crossgates shooting


Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Tasheem Maeweather, shown here, right, at his arraignment in Guilderland Town Court in November.


ALBANY COUNTY — “He’s a sweet kid,” said Tasheem Maeweather’s lawyer.

Maeweather is the 20-year-old Albany man accused of shutting down Crossgates Mall by firing a gun on Saturday, Nov. 12. He was indicted by a grand jury this week on four felony charges — one count each of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and first-degree reckless endangerment.

The indictment alleges that Maeweather “possessed a loaded firearm and intended to cause the death of another individual while inside Crossgates Mall” and also alleges that he “recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another,” according to a release from the Albany County District Attorney’s Office.

“It doesn’t matter the charges, he’s not guilty,” said Maeweather’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon of Albany's Kindlon Law Firm, when asked about the two new felony charges — attempted assault and attempted murder — added by the grand jury. Kindlon told The Enterprise that Maeweather will plead “not guilty” to all charges when he appears on Monday before Judge Roger D. McDonough in Albany County Supreme Court.

The key witness in a Guilderland hearing leading to the grand jury action was an off-duty State Trooper who said he saw the entire altercation at Crossgates Mall unfold and saw Maeweather firing a gun twice.

Maeweather was charged two days after the shooting had closed the sprawling mall as shoppers and workers fled or were locked down until a police sweep was completed. No gun has been found. No one was hurt in the incident, and police say they haven't found the person who was shot at. Guilderland Police also say they have reviewed a surveillance video that records the shooting incident.

Maeweather had pleaded “not guilty” in town court to two felony charges: reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.

Kindlon suggested at the hearing that perhaps the off-duty Trooper, Ian De Giovine, hadn’t really been watching carefully during the altercation, because he was at the mall with his family, not expecting any trouble.

De Giovine responded, “I’m an observer wherever I go. I’m a police officer.”

“At a preliminary hearing,” Kindlon said on Friday, “people try to paint a clear simple picture because the burden of proof is so low...At moments of crisis, your focus is not what you think. It’s standard practice to question an eye witness’s memory..It’s outrageous the Trooper remembered the black stripe on his Air Jordans but not what everyone else looked like. It’s too perfect...If something is too good to be true, it usually is.”

At his arraignment in Guilderland Town Court, Maeweather did not remember the ZIP code at the address where he said he had lived all his life. His lawyer from the Public Defender’s Office had to translate for him when the judge asked if he was employed. He was also unable to spell the name of his “night school” and said he wasn’t sure what he was studying. His lawyer said he had an IEP, referencing an Individual Education Plan, used for students with disabilities.

Asked if Kindlon might use Maeweather’s disabilities as part of his defense, he said, “Diminished-capacity defenses are difficult.” Kindlon added, “I don’t foreclose any possibilities.”

Kindlon said that Maeweather is eager to have his case go to trial. “When he’s accused of something he didn’t do, he wants to know how quickly he can get exonerated...Nobody wants to be locked up.”

Maeweather was not granted bail and he remains in Albany County’s jail. At his November arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Brittany Grome said that Maeweather had a prior felony conviction, with probation from November 2015 until 2020, noting he had “done less than a year.”

Guilderland Police Senior Investigator Thomas Funk said that Maeweather had been on probation for drug sales.

Grome also noted there was eyewitness and video evidence for the charges and said, “We do believe he’s a flight risk.” She said the crimes Maeweather is accused of showed a “disregard for human life” and also that he was “a clear and present danger.”

Kindlon said on Friday that a separate proceeding is underway for Maeweather’s probation violation. “Bail is contingent on a number of factors,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Steven Sharp has joined Grome in prosecuting the case. Cecilia Walsh, public information officer for the District Attorney’s Office, did not return a Friday call seeking comment.

Updated on Dec. 2, 2016, to include comments from Maeweather's attorney, Lee Kindlon.

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