District Attorney: No Charges to Be Filed in Foster City Intruder Shooting Case

District attorney said the shooting of a 24-year-old San Mateo man was 'a tragic accident, but not a crime.' The identities of the shooter and victim have also been released.

The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office has announced that charges will not be filed in the case of an intruder who, while intoxicated, mistakenly wandered into the wrong Foster City home in the middle of the night on March 25 and was shot by someone in the home.

The names of both the victim and shooter, previously withheld until the victim recovered from his injuries and could be questioned, have also now been released by the District Attorney's Office.

The shooting in question  on March 25.

The shooter, Joseph Balistrieri - a Brentwood man in his 40s - was staying as a guest in his parents' home in the 600 block of Crane Avenue along with his parents, wife and kids.

Balistrieri reportedly heard the victim, 24-year-old Patrick O'Neill of San Mateo, attempting to enter the home and ordered his parents, wife and kids into a back bedroom for safety, and then went to get a gun in case he needed to defend himself. While hiding in the back room, one of his relatives called the police to report the intruder at 4:22 a.m.

However, moments later, when O'Neill successfully entered the home,

O'Neill has told police he was out drinking with three friends earlier that night, and that they had offered him a ride. At some point on the drive home, O'Neill, who was very intoxicated, passed out in the backseat of the car.

Some time later, O'Neill reportedly woke up in the backseat of the car, alone. The car was parked on Crane Avenue.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told Patch that one of the three friends lived in a home very close to the home where the shooting occured. They also told police that, when they arrived on Crane Avenue and parked their car, O'Neill requested to sleep "just a few more minutes" in the car before coming inside. The friends agreed and left him there.

O'Neill then reportedly woke up a short time later and tried to enter the home where the shooting occured, believing it was his friend's home. Wagstaffe told Patch that Balistrieri stated that O'Neill was banging very loudly for a while before entering the home when no one answered the door. In fact, Balistrieri said the banging was so loud, he and his family believed several people were attempting to enter the home.

Unfortunately, O'Neill had the wrong house, and Balistrieri and his family thought O'Neill and possibly several others were trying to break in and either steal property or attempt to harm him and his family.

Wagstaffe said Balistrieri was asked why he didn't yell out to the intruder or intruders, asking them to stop, before firing. Balistrieri reportedly answered that he was afraid one or all of them may have had a gun and would shoot him first.

Wagstaffe, said, under state law, in this case, Balistrieri was legally allowed to shoot the intruders to defend himself, since they had entered the home.

O'Neill suffered multiple gunshot wounds, but survived. However, he has been undergoing a long recovery in the hospital. Reportedly, it was three weeks before police were able to question him.

The investigation and question of charges was initially put on hold while O'Neill recovered in the hospital.

Wagstaffe said the decision not to file charges against either Balistrieri or O'Neill came after much consideration.

"Unfortunately, this was a very tragic accident, but not a crime," Wagstaffe told Patch. 

Wagstaffe said it is fortunate for everyone involved that O'Neill was not killed, and he has been told O'Neill is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.

"We're very pleased. After all, he could have been shot in the head, and killed. We're very pleased he will make a full recovery."

Wagstaffe said, at this point, "as far as we are concerned, this case is closed." 


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What do you think of the District Attorney's decision not to file charges against either the shooter or the victim? Tell us in the comments below.


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