Self-Defense Claimed in Killing

Cabdriver Was Angry About Fare, Engineer's Lawyer Says

A lawyer for Evan D. Gargiulo says his client's money was stolen.
A lawyer for Evan D. Gargiulo says his client's money was stolen. (Courtesy Of Fairfax County Police Department - Courtesy Of Fairfax County Police Department)
  Enlarge Photo    
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 7, 2008; Page B02

The engineer accused of killing a cabdriver in Tysons Corner has told police that he shot the driver in self-defense after the driver became angry over his inability to pay a $130 tab.

Evan D. Gargiulo, 22, has been in jail since he surrendered to Fairfax County police Tuesday in the weekend slaying of Mazhar Nazir, 49, of Baileys Crossroads. A judge yesterday denied Gargiulo's request to be released on bond.

At the hearing, Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Ian M. Rodway said Gargiulo had been dressed in a wet suit and wig while attending a Halloween party at a downtown Washington nightclub, Fur, when his wallet, cellphone and car keys were stolen. Gargiulo was "distraught" by the theft and hired Nazir's Dial Cab to take him back to his apartment in Reston, Rodway said.

Gargiulo believed he had several hundred dollars in his wet suit, defense lawyer Steven Garver said, and agreed to pay Nazir $75 for the ride. Once at his apartment, Garver said, Gargiulo picked up a key to his Nissan sport-utility vehicle -- and his 9mm pistol. "Feeling vulnerable, he decided to pick up and take the gun," Garver said.

Gargiulo then asked to be taken to the Rotonda condominium complex in Tysons Corner, where his friend lives, because Gargiulo's car was parked there and he did not want it to be towed from a visitors' lot, Garver said. When they arrived, Gargiulo realized that he also had lost the cash that was stashed in his wet suit, Garver said.

Nazir, who told him the fare was now $130, was understandably upset, Garver said. He said Nazir handed Gargiulo his phone and told him to call his friend in the Rotonda, but the friend was still at the party downtown.

Garver said Nazir "got angry, threatened my client" and "was trying to come over the front seat at my client." The two men struggled, Garver said, and Gargiulo "just instinctively reached in, pulled his gun and fired."

Gargiulo then called his parents in Hillsborough, N.J., using Nazir's phone, retrieved his SUV and drove away, Rodway said. He did not call police or tell them his side of the story until Wednesday, Rodway said.

Garver said Gargiulo contacted him Monday "and said he wanted to turn himself in because he thought he'd killed somebody." The lawyer said he did not know why Gargiulo did not call police at the time of the shooting, but "obviously he was very emotionally distraught."

Gargiulo graduated from Penn State University in May and works as a systems engineer for Lockheed Martin in Reston. He had hoped to enter the Army after graduation, Garver said, but when he couldn't find a position that made use of his degree in information science and technology, he entered the private sector and took an assignment as a lieutenant in the Virginia National Guard, stationed in Virginia Beach.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company