MT. LEBANON (KDKA) — The family of a baby girl, allegedly beaten to death by her father, is searching for answers following her tragic death.
Police say Joseph Gazzam was caring for his 4-month-old daughter, Victoria, in an upstairs apartment he shares with the baby’s mother, who was at work at the time. The woman’s parents live downstairs.
“He’s the father, so he lived in the house with the mother. They shared the upstairs,” said Joseph Horowitz, a family spokesperson. “Mom went to work at Wendy’s down the street in the morning, grandma was downstairs, and no one heard or suspected anything. Next thing they knew the paramedics were coming to their door. No indication that anything like this would happen for sure. Everyone is shocked.”
Investigators say Gazzam initially told them the baby fell off the bed.
But police say he later admitted to repeatedly punching the child when she wouldn’t stop crying.
“I don’t think anybody knows what happened. They said he was acting normal the night before. They know he had a few beers, but he had drank before and something must have just snapped,” said Horowitz. “I hope you keep the family in your prayers and understand that none of them had any inkling that anything like this would happen and they are surprised as everybody else.”
Gazzam called 911 when the child stopped breathing. She died later at the St. Clair Hospital.
Gazzam was arrested and charged with homicide, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child.