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PERKIOMEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- There was not a lot of sympathy Thursday in a Montgomery County neighborhood for a man shot and killed by an off-duty SEPTA police sergeant.

"The person who lived in that house over there is a piece of garbage, a piece of human garbage," neighbor Kevin Rodzinak said.

As the story develops, we're learning there's been a lot of bad blood between the dead man, Joseph McNair and his neighbors.

Late Thursday afternoon, McNair's family blasted the community where he was killed.

Witnesses said they heard the off-duty SEPTA sergeant say McNair threatened his life and his family and that he did what he had to do when he thought McNair was reaching for something.

McNair's family said he didn't have a gun and shouldn't have been shot to death.

"So, he pumped him with four shots three in his body lower, in this area," the Rev. Lewis Nash said, pointing to his torso, "and then he shot him in his face."

Nash is angry about the shooting death of his 38-year-old cousin.

Police said Darryl Simmons, the off-duty SEPTA police sergeant, shot McNair Wednesday night. It was during an argument in their Schwenksville neighborhood when they passed each other driving down the street.

"He's the one who had specific police training. He's the one who's supposed to have a tolerance level. He's the one supposed to have been the better man to drive off and not even stop if Mr. McNair didn't hit his car," Nash said.

It's not clear what Simmons and McNair were arguing about, but neighbors said McNair had been a problem in the neighborhood for quite sometime.

"Yes, he had threatened the lives of a couple of neighbors here in the past and their children," neighbor Paul Cerniglia said.

Another neighbor talked about an incident where McNair got into it with him over an issue involving both of their dogs.

"He released his three rotweillers on my 7-year-old. That was in January, yes. What happened? I also have a Jack Russell terrier. The dogs mauled my Jack Russell terrier," Rodzinak said.

But family members of McNair's tell a different story. They said he moved here to the suburbs of Schwenksville from North Philadelphia to make a better life for himself. They said he was an entrepreneur who dabbled in real estate.

And while neighbors cite McNair's lengthy criminal record from the past, family said it's a tactic to make the SEPTA sergeant accused of shooting him look good.

"They're trying to use that so that they can say the good sergeant, who blew his top, began to shoot recklessly in the public street, shooting a man four times, no charges filed, let loose," Nash said.

"He’s an officer and with a .357. He shot my cousin four times. He never seen him with a weapon. He shot him four times. Why?" asked Nash.

McNair's family said what played out Wednesday night in the Swanksville neighborhood adds up to murder.

But the lawyer of Darryl Simmons said that's not true. He alleged that his client shot McNair in self-defense. "Sgt. Simmons did nothing wrong. He's innocent. He was threatened, his family was threatened,” said defense lawyer Charles Mandracchia.

According to police, Simmons, who stood quietly behind his lawyer Thursday, gripping his wife and kids, shot McNair multiple times after an altercation.

"This man, Joe McNair is a bad person, he polluted this neighborhood,” said Mandracchia.

But McNair's loved ones don't buy it. They admit McNair was jailed for selling drugs in the past, but say, that's the past, and that he was wrongly killed. "I’m at a loss for words. I’m pretty sure he was wrongly shot. He didn't have a gun on him,” said Omar Mateen, the shooting victim’s brother.

State police were at McNair's home again Thursday afternoon.

Family said neighbors disliked him because they didn't know what he did for a living and simply didn't want him in the neighborhood.

The District Attorney's office is continuing to investigate the shooting.
 
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