After claiming his baby daughter was injured after falling out of bed, Joseph Gazzam, 30, finally admitted to police that he punched the infant several times because she wouldn’t stop crying.
A criminal complaint indicates the Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, man called 911 emergency services shortly after noon on Sunday, November 12, after his 4-month-old daughter, Victoria Gazzam “stopped breathing and her eyes rolled back in her head,” according to The Independent. Emergency medical responders took the infant to St. Clair Hospital where she was pronounced dead just an hour later.
Following Victoria’s death, an autopsy was conducted that found the baby girl suffered bleeding of the brain, her heart vessel and left kidney were lacerated, and that she had a liver contusion, three broken ribs, several bruises to the back and head, and a hemorrhage behind her eyes, reports WTAE.
The infant’s death was ruled a homicide by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, The Independent reports.
It was only after the autopsy was completed that Gazzam told police he hit Victoria multiple times for being “fussy.” According to The Independent, Gazzam further stated that the baby girl “would not stop crying and would not fall asleep again.”
The baby’s mother was reportedly at work at the time Victoria was being beaten. She and Gazzam share an upstairs apartment and her parents live downstairs, reports CBS Pittsburgh.
Police: 4 month old Victoria Gazzam beaten to death by her dad in their Mt Lebanon home. DETAILS ON CRIME & REACTION ON KDKA TV NEWS@11 pic.twitter.com/wOyAksBfSD— Ralph Iannotti (@IannottiRalph) November 14, 2017
Gazzam is charged with murder, reckless endangerment of another person, and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned Tuesday and denied bail. Gazzam is currently behind bars in the Allegheny County Jail.
MT LEBANON TRAGEDY: 4 month old Victoria Gazzam died of blunt force trauma; Joseph Gazzam charged w/homicide. pic.twitter.com/u8655UC62O— Ralph Iannotti (@IannottiRalph) November 14, 2017
Joseph Horowitz, a spokesperson for Victoria’s family, told WTAE the baby’s relatives were “crying their eyes out” after reading the criminal complaint and learning of the injuries the child sustained. He added, “…it’s about as traumatic as anything could possibly be.”
Horowitz also spoke with CBS Pittsburgh, saying no one really knows what happened or why Gazzam hit the baby. He said those who were around him thought he was “acting normal the night before.” According to Horowitz, they said he had drunk a few beers, which he had done before, and believe something “must have just snapped.”
Horowitz asked everyone to keep Victoria’s family members in their prayers and wanted it known that “none of them had any inkling that anything like this would happen.
[Featured Image by Allegheny County Police Department]