A Brooklyn man accused of shooting a former friend in the jaw could face murder charges now that the victim has died, authorities said Wednesday.
Douglas Pugh is already facing attempted murder, assault and gun possession charges for gunning down Arturo Scott inside the Lincoln Towers in East New York, Brooklyn at 7:25 p.m. Jan. 23., police said.
The victim was unable to speak after his injury, but named Pugh as his assailant in a note to cops, authorities said.
Scott lived in California but traveled often to New York, where he lived years ago, according to relatives. He was celebrating his birthday in Brooklyn when he was shot.
EMS rushed him to Brookdale University Hospital in critical but stable condition, police said. He turned 42 the next day.
Scott eventually recovered enough to travel back home. But he died Aug. 13 at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, Calif.
An autopsy conducted in California determined Scott died from complications of the gunshot wound. The NYPD was notified Tuesday that his death was ruled a homicide.
Scott’s relatives said they only learned recently about the shooting. They thought cancer robbed him of his ability to speak.
“I didn’t know he got shot because from what I knew he had lung cancer,” said Scott’s wife, ShellyAnn Charles, 39, who lived apart from her husband. “Nobody told me anything and that’s what pisses me off because it’s a life and death situation. I was mad at the entire situation and the cops weren’t really telling me anything.”
It was only two weeks before his death that he told her the truth. He never had cancer.
“He is on the phone talking to me, I can barely understand what he’s saying and he told me what actually happened,” she said. “He told me and I was like are you okay? I didn’t know it was that bad.”
Despite his struggles, Charles said she didn’t know the end was so near. She said Scott was on feeding tube and struggled to eat.
“He couldn’t even swallow food, it was pretty bad,” she said. “He was hungry, he was losing weight, he was suffering. It’s so unfair.”
Charles said Scott returned to California because he loved the weather and atmosphere and wanted to get away from New York. She said Scott wanted to move her out there and they had discussions about that. He would go back and forth between New York and California. His 16-year-old would visit from time to time.
“He loved California,” she said. “It’s gorgeous. He would say he feels free. New York beats you up.”
Charles said Scott had a passion for cutting hair and cooking and worked at a restaurant and catering company.
“He taught me a lot,” she said. “He taught me how to make spaghetti and meatballs. He went on to the gourmet side, fish dishes. It was a variety of things,.”
Scott’s accused killer, Pugh, who lives in the building where the crime occurred, was arrested on Feb. 5.
Cops said the two friends argued over drugs and that led to the shooting.
Charles said there was a rift over money.
Pugh, 41, is being held at Rikers Island without bail and could now face murder charges after police consult with prosecutors, officials said. He has several sealed arrests on his record, plus a weapons possession arrest in 2003.
Scott had seven arrests for mostly minor offenses, including for marijuana, police said.
Charles said Scott tried his best to be a good father to his 16-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter but mental issues and personal setbacks sometimes made life difficult for him.
“He was a great person,” she said. “I was completely shocked. I cried, I was shocked because he’s been through a lot. But he’s a fighter. He is the strongest man I know. That was my best friend, funniest dude ever. We got married 17 years ago, great father loved his kids. He had his moments from his childhood. He was fighting his demons but he was finally able to move out of New York.”