Tasheem Bell had already punched one woman in the face, and the woman’s brother was on his way to the scene intending on a fistfight, a prosecutor told a Schenectady County Court jury on Tuesday.
But Bell wasn’t interested in that, prosecutor Amy Monahan told the jury.
He went and got a gun and fired at a group that included a friend of the woman he had punched as the friend verbally antagonized him, according to the prosecutor and testimony.
Bell then fired five shots at the group on Eastern Avenue, hitting the friend, 18-year-old Chadaejzhia Tulloch, once in the right calf.
“The defendant didn’t have a problem getting himself into an argument and a physical altercation with girls,” Monahan told the jury. “But when it looked like he would actually have to fight somebody his own size, he was unwilling to do that.
“He met the potential threat of a fistfight with gunfire, the coward’s way.”
Bell, 22, formerly of Manhattan Street, is standing trial on two counts of first-degree assault, along with weapon possession and other charges.
Bell is accused of opening fire on Eastern Avenue near Wendell Avenue on Sept. 6, 2010.
The bullet that hit Tulloch remains in her leg, and she has lasting sensation effects and pain in her leg.
Bell is represented by attorney Michael Mansion, who told the jury the he believed prosecutors wouldn’t be able to prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mansion also suggested that witnesses would give inconsistent accounts and that those inconsistencies would be significant.
“Inconsistencies aren’t just a simple fact of life; inconsistencies might be a glaring issue that you might want to focus your energies on,” Mansion told the jury.
The Sept. 6 shooting had its roots in a confrontation earlier in the day on Crane Street, Monahan told the jury.
Bell had shown romantic interest in a woman identified as Amanda Andino. But Andino and Tulloch were on Crane Street, where Andino was smoking a marijuana cigarette, according to the prosecution. Bell arrived and tried to take it from her, but Andino refused and an argument ensued.
Later in the day, they met up again on Eastern Avenue. Bell eventually punched Amdino in the face. Soon after, he went to get his gun, Monahan told the jury.
Tulloch testified that she and others were upset that Bell punched Andino. When Bell returned with the gun, Tulloch spotted it and she began challenging him verbally, suggesting that he fight her.
“Then I heard shots,” Tulloch said. She started running.
“Within hearing the third or fourth shot, I felt the heat on my leg,” Tulloch said.
She began to rush Bell, she said, “because I was very, very angry, very, very, very angry.” By that time, though, Bell was fleeing. He was arrested about five weeks later.