Police arrested a Pennsylvania man Monday after, they say, he punched his 4-month-old daughter to death because she wouldn’t stop crying.
Joseph Gazzam, 30, allegedly beat his infant daughter Victoria until “she stopped breathing and her eyes rolled back in her head,” at which point he called 911, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Police arrived around 12:30 p.m. to the Mt. Lebanon home, where Gazzam had a room in the attic and lived with homeowner Cindy Walter, the grandmother of the child, and her daughter Kayla Walter, the mother of the baby, according to the Allegheny County Police.
Victoria was found unresponsive and rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead in under an hour, according to TribLive.
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She was found with a wide range of injuries, according to WXII12, including a fractured left humerus, bleeding in the brain, a lacerated heart vessel, liver contusion and three fractured ribs.
At first, Gazzam told police Sunday that the baby died in an accident, claiming that she fell out of the bed while taking a nap, ABC6 wrote. Gazzam told authorities that he “forcefully removed (Victoria) from her bassinet” when they asked him about her broken arm.
But his story changed during a second interview with police Monday, WXXI12 wrote, after doctors determined Victoria’s injuries were incompatible with Gazzam’s first account.
During that second interview, Gazzam allegedly admitted to police that he grew angry because Victoria “would not stop crying and would not fall asleep again,” the Post-Gazette wrote, hitting her multiple times with his closed fist.
While the child’s mother was away at work, Gazzam allegedly hit the small child twice in the head and punched her once in both the back and stomach, police told WXII12. Then, once he realized something was wrong with Victoria, he called 911.
Gazzam is charged with homicide, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child, TribLive reported.
“Any time it involves an infant, and the level of the charges he is confronting, that’s a serious situation,” Mt. Lebanon police Chief Aaron V. Lauth said, according to the Post-Gazette.