Community Service Officer Shot and Killed Over Grass Clippings, Say Police
A community service officer for the Milwaukee Police Department is dead after he was shot during what authorities say was a "neighbor dispute."
Naeem Sarosh, 35, had worked for the department for four years when he was fatally shot on Monday night, according to the Milwaukee Police Department.
Authorities said Sarosh was off-duty at the time, calling the shooting a "tragic incident."
"He will be greatly missed by the members of this organization and and by the members of our community," the MPD said in a statement. "Acting Chief Michael Brunson and the entire Milwaukee Police Department send condolences and prayers to the Sarosh family as they grieve their loss."
According to a criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE on Wednesday, Sarosh's 65-year-old neighbor Mohammed Afzal has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide in connection to the officer's death.
The criminal complaint says that Sarosh had walked over to Afzal's home next door to discuss some grass clippings that were left on his side of the property when he was shot.
Video surveillance footage shows Sarosh calmly chatting with Afzal as he stands at the threshold of his front door, according to the complaint. During the conversation, Sarosh "does not appear to be shouting or raising his voice; his stance could be described as relaxed as he is leaning slightly backwards with both hands in his pockets, with more weight on his rearmost foot," the complaint says.
Suddenly, Afzal "raises a gun and extends the barrel past the open door and fires," the complaint says, and Sarosh turns around to start running down the driveway.
Per the complaint, Afzal then fires a second shot, looks at his gun and spends several seconds at his door before turning back toward his home. The complaint says that Afzal took "no actions consistent with being concerned taking no actions consistent with being concerned that the victim is armed and might come back and harm him."
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Later, Afzal allegedly admitted to investigators that he shot Sarosh, saying that he thought his neighbor had a gun because his hands were in his pockets, according to the complaint.
"He acknowledged that the victim did not display a weapon. He said that he fired the gun to scare away the victim," the complaint reads. "He said that after shooting the victim, he went inside, put his gun away, and changed clothes because he knew the police would be coming for him."
Both families told investigators that they are "friendly and on good terms with one another," but "for some reason" Afzal did not like Sarosh, according to the complaint.
It is unclear if Afzal has obtained legal representation who can speak on his behalf or if he has entered a plea at this time.
A GoFundMe campaign created in support of Sarosh's family says he is survived by his wife and two daughters.
"All he wanted to was to serve his community," a description on the page reads. "He was also a family man. He loved to play jokes and make people laugh."
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