Father shoots older son to save younger son after argument over pool game

A pool game between brothers ended up with one of the brothers dead, killed by their father, police said.

STUART, Fla. — Law enforcement officials in Florida said a father shot and killed one son to save the other after the two brothers started fighting over a pool game.

Police said they were called to a home in Martin County around 6 a.m. Sunday. The woman who called them said her older son was being "irrational," Sheriff William Snyder told the Miami Herald during a news conference later that afternoon.

Witnesses said the man, Joseph Maloney, 30, had been acting “irrational” for eight hours. He and his brother, James Maloney, 26, had been drinking throughout the night.

They started fighting over a game of pool, and the fight became violent, the Herald reported.


Both sons lived with their parents, WPBF reported.

John Maloney, the men’s father, said he tried to “verbally intervene” and at one point tried to physically get Joseph off of his brother, but wasn’t able to do so, the sheriff said.

John Maloney and his wife, Marie Maloney, said at one point they heard their younger son asking their older one to stop choking him. They said the older brother was also holding a knife over his brother's head, according to the Herald.

John Maloney said after he was unable to stop his sons, he fired his revolver at Joseph Maloney, hitting him several times. Joseph Maloney died at the house.

Police said the scene showed signs of a struggle happened with broken pool sticks and an open butterfly knife laying on the room, according to the Herald.

“The physical evidence and the witness statements indicate that at the time of the incident, Mr. Maloney believed that the deadly use of force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to his younger son,” Snyder said.

No charges are expected in Joseph Maloney's death, WPBF reported.

Family members said Joseph Maloney was under stress and that could have caused the fight, WPBF reported.

Police told the news station Joseph Maloney was part of a case of driving under the influence that could have resulted in a manslaughter charge.

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