A 74-year-old man, Thomas Athanasatos of Greek descent, shot and wounded his brother in the neck with a makeshift gun on Sept. 5 and then killed himself in the basement of the family’s two-story brick house in Borough Park, Brooklyn, probably with the same gun, police said.
The brothers had a fight outside the house because they disagreed about selling or keeping the house, neighbors told police. “They were arguing in Greek and sounded drunk,” neighbor Malky Goldberg told the New York Daily News.
When an ambulance appeared, James Athanasatos, 63, was sitting on the curb alone, bleeding and moaning, but his brother had gone down to the basement of the family’s house where he had been living since 1974.
A third brother, George, 58, visited James in the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn and said he was told how the shooting happened. Up to that time, James was claiming that he did not know who the perpetrator was. The New York Times reported that James told George, “There was no fight; he just shot me.” George said that, “James is likely to lose an eye but is expected to survive.”
Police then returned to the house to seek Thomas and said they found him dead, after he’d shot himself in the head. Discord between the brothers grew when they inherited the house. “Thomas continued to live in the basement, and his two brothers together continued to pay him a $600 monthly allowance, just as his mother had in her life,” George told the Times. The other two floors were rented to several tenants.
(Sources: N.Y. Times, New York Daily News)