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Family 'Shocked' That Friend of Man Killed by Retired Officer Faces Charges

 Evering, 28, was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court on assault and menacing charges Thursday morning.
Joscelyn Evering
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BROOKLYN — The mom of the friend of an unarmed dad who was fatally shot by a retired correction officer during a fight in the subway said she was "shocked" her son is facing charges stemming from the incident while the former guard is not.

The statements came as the the Brooklyn District Attorney weighed whether to bring the case of the ex-guard, Willie Groomes, 69, before a grand jury for the Tuesday evening shooting, sources said.

They also came as the family of Gilbert Drogheo, 32, called for an open investigation during a press conference after Groomes shot him during a fight in the Borough Hall subway station Tuesday evening.

And a fuller timeline of the incident emerged Thursday, including that Groomes had his gun drawn and followed the two men through the station after threatening to arrest them, according to sources.

 Gilbert Drogheo, inset, was fatally shot and his family, center, called for a full investigation during a press conference.
Gilbert Drogheo, inset, was fatally shot and his family, center, called for a full investigation during a press conference.
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Department of Corrections and DNAinfo/Sybile Penhirin


Joscelyn Evering's mom said that she couldn't believe that assault charges were brought against her son, who allegedly pushed and shoved Groomes.

"This is crazy," said the distraught mom, Paula Livingston. "I am shocked that he was the one arrested in this case."

Evering, 28, who was an electrician along with Drogheo, was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court on assault and menacing charges Thursday morning, with his mother in court looking on in disbelief.

He was later released on $1,500 bail but said nothing as he left the courthouse. He is due back in court on March 17.

His family plans to fight the charges against him and sue Groomes, his mother said.

"My son is a great person. He's really a nice guy. And he's very popular and well known in the neighborhood," his mother said before bailing him from jail Thursday.

"He raps and plays basketball and has won several trophies from basketball," she added.

Groomes was not immediately arrested or charged for Drogheo's death. A police department spokeswoman said that the incident remained under investigation.

"I want justice for my son. That's all I want. I want this man to go to jail, to feel my pain. I lost my son," Drogheo's mother, Linda Rodriguez, said during a press conference Thursday morning outside the 84th Precinct stationhouse.

"I don't think he should have shot my son like that. He had no reason to shoot him like that."

Groomes' lawyer declined to comment.

The fight began when Groomes boarded a Brooklyn-bound 4 train at the Bowling Green subway station in Manhattan, brushing between Drogheo and Evering, who were talking in the train's doorway at 6:30 p.m., sources said.

The duo had been acting obnoxiously and appeared drunk beforehand, sources said.

"What's up my n----r," asked one of them, Groomes told investigators, sources said.

"I'm not your n----r. Don't disrespect me like that," Groomes replied, according to the sources.

Evering then hit Groomes in the temple before shoving him down into a subway seat, twice, the former guard told investivators, sources said.

"Don't disrespect me like this. You are going to have to be arrested," Groomes said before declaring that he was "an officer," according to sources.

Groomes drew his gun, a .380 Ruger which he had a permit for, in the crowded subway car shortly before the two men exited when the train pulled into Borough Hall, sources said.

Groomes followed them but at some point Drogheo put him in a bear hug on the platform, sources said.

The former guard managed to free himself and Drogheo fled up a nearby staircase, sources said.

Groomes again followed, catching up to them near the exit on the mezzanine, where Drogheo turned to him, according to sources and video.

Amateur video published by CBS appears to show Groomes striking Drogheo with his left arm, but the former correction officer told police that he was trying to grab the electrician's collar, sources said.

The two grabbed each other until Groomes fired a bullet into Drogheo's chest, killing him, video shows. Drogheo was pronounced dead at Brooklyn Hospital, police said.

Groomes was treated at an area hospital after the shooting because he suffered pains in his shoulder and back, prosecutors said.

The sudden death of Drogheo, who has a 5-year-old daughter named Gia, left his grief-stricken family wondering both how he could've been shot and why Groomes was not immediately arrested, they said.

"For a man to be so scared, why would you run after him? And shoot him if you were so scared," his mom asked.

Other relatives echoed her sentiment and said he was devoted to his work as an electrician.

"I am very shocked. Charges should have been filed a long time ago as soon as it happened," said Drogheo's uncle, Luis Drogheo.

"He was a good kid ... We all loved him. We're going to miss him," the uncle added.

A reverend with the National Action Network asked witnesses to come forward to help investigate Drogheo's death.

Additional reporting by Aidan Gardiner