Neighbor's Text Saves Wife, Daughter as Professor Murdered

She spotted intruder enter Brooklyn home
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2018 2:59 AM CDT
Updated May 9, 2018 5:21 AM CDT
Neighbor's Text Saves Wife, Daughter as Professor Murdered
The neighbor says police arrived within a minute of the 911 call.   (LPETTET/Getty Images)

A professor in Brooklyn was murdered by an intruder on Monday, police say—and his wife and daughter may have been saved by a sharp-eyed neighbor. Doreen Giuliano says she noticed a man apparently casing the home for hours and then saw him enter through a side door. Giuliano tells CBS2 that she texted the wife of professor Jeremy Safran asking if they had a tenant or work being done on the home; when the answer was negative, she told the wife an intruder had entered the home. After the women fled the home and called 911, police found the 66-year-old professor dead in the home's basement. Police say they found Mirzo Atadzhanov, 28, hiding in a closet, covered in blood. Sources say Safran was beaten and stabbed to death. As he was escorted to booking, Atadzhanov claimed he had been "defending himself."

"This is very scary that someone could climb into your house and hide in the basement," Giuliano tells the New York Daily News. "I think he was waiting to get the ladies. ... If I was a few minutes sooner, I think I could have saved Jeremy, too," she added, crying. Police haven't uncovered a connection between Atadzhanov and the psychology professor, who had taught at the New School for decades, though sources tell the New York Post that the suspect is believed to have followed Safran's 18-year-old daughter to the home. The Daily News reports that Atadzhanov was charged with attempted rape and assault in Dec. 2016 after allegedly attacking a Canadian tourist who stayed at his apartment through, though the charges were dropped at his first court appearance. (More murder stories.)

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