Posted by 69News:.
Testifying in his own defense Friday morning, Christopher Fitzgerald said he absolutely did not point his pistol at anyone when arrested in August.
“I didn’t point a gun,” said Fitzgerald. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Fitzgerald, the 23-year-old son of Allentown Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, was the only witness called to the stand in Lehigh County Court before the defense rested before noon.
Closing arguments in the case will be heard at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
During his testimony Fitzgerald was calm, looked at jurors and answered questions with “yes sir” or “no sir.”
His parents and pregnant fiancee were in court to hear him testify.
Fitzgerald is facing charges in connection with a road rage incident in August, when he allegedly pulled a gun on two undercover detective as they tried to pass his vehicle, according to prosecutors.
Fitzgerald’s girlfriend and one-year-old child were in the car at the time.
The defendant testified he was driving his girlfriend to work at Olive Garden when he noticed a gray car pull up behind him. He claimed it began to tailgate him.
He said he tapped his brakes three times and even waved the driver to pass him before pulling over to the right shoulder on MacArthur Road and stopping his car.
He rejected a suggestion from the prosecution that tapping his brakes could have put his family in danger if he had been rear-ended. And he said doing so would “not necessarily” anger the driver following him.
Fitzgerald said he became “fearful” when the gray car stopped in the left lane, so “as a safety measure” he grabbed his gun, which was underneath his seat.
When he saw the passenger side door open and a leg come out of that car, Fitzgerald said he opened his car door.
He acknowledged that he chose to pull out his gun.
“I wanted him to see the gun so that he would back off,” he testified.
He heard someone curse and say “he has a gun” and the person got back into the car and closed the door.
Asked if he pointed the gun at anyone, Fitzgerald replied: “Absolutely not.”
Detrctive Todd Frey previously testified that Fitzgerald pointed the gun at him.
Fitzgerald said he then took off.
He told the court he couldn’t get his phone unlocked to make any calls. His girlfriend called his mother. He tried to get in touch with his father but never actually spoke to him. Neither called 911 for help.
He pulled into Lehigh Valley Mall parking lot because he still was being followed by the other car and said he did not want the people in it to know where his girlfriend worked.
When it pulled in behind him, he claims it blocked the exit, so he turned his car around to face it.
When he heard police sirens he said: “I felt safe.”
When Fitzgerald got out of his car, the gun was in a holster on his belt.
He testified he did not have the gun in his hand when he got out of his car and that he chose not to reach for it even after they told him to “drop the gun” because ” I just know better…I would’ve been shot.”
Fitzgerald said there was a lot of yelling and the commands they were shouting were confusing.
Prosecutors pressed him on whether he turned his body to show his gun when he stopped his car. He maintained he never turned his body, another claim Det. Frey disputes.
Fitzgerald said he crouched next to his car, even after uniformed police arrived, because the two men without uniforms were pointing their guns at him.
Prosecutor said he chose not to call 911 and chose not to drive to a police station for help. Fitzgerald said he had only been living here for five months and didn’t know where all the police departments are located.
During an interview with police after his arrest, Fitzgerald had said the incident would not have happened if he had known police were behind him.
“So it’s not okay to do it to police but it’s ok to do it to Joe Schmo?” asked a prosecutor.
“I didn’t point a gun,” responded Fitzgerald. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Atty. Jack McMahon, Fitzgerald’s lawyer, blew up at Judge Kelly Banach after she denied his request for the jury to consider whether Fitzgerald was justified in pulling out his gun.
“You’re not being fair to this young man,” maintained McMahon.
Fitzgerald, his mother and girlfriend began crying.
“The reason your client is crying is because you’re carrying on like a lunatic,” said the judge.
After his exchange with the judge, in reference to the trial, McMahon said: “It’s a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
Fitzgerald testified he’s had his gun, a 9mm Glock, since his 21st birthday.
He said in Texas, where he moved from five months before the incident, people are allowed to own and carry guns when they are 21.