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Atlantic City man accused in homicide was defending himself, attorney says

Howard Cassell was ordered detained in fatal shooting


A man accused in a fatal shooting was being hunted by two men looking to harm him, his attorney said during a detention hearing Tuesday.
Video captured the altercation just after 11 a.m. March 12 outside A.C. Linen, where Howard Cassell works, showing two men attack him, defense attorney Steve Scheffler told the judge.
“It wasn’t a fistfight,” Scheffler said. “Two people attacked him.”
A gun Cassell allegedly had in his pocket was fired, and one of the men — 23-year-old Da’quan Montague — was struck. He died of his wound.
“The two other men did not use a weapon, they used fists,” Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey said.

Cassell then allegedly tried to get someone to take the gun from the scene.
The shooting was the culmination of days of escalating criminal behavior by Cassell that began with a simple assault during a domestic incident three days earlier, McKelvey said.
Cassell, 30, was on release on that charge when the shooting happened, Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury noted in his decision to detain him.
“The defendant, faced with his involvement in a domestic matter, escalated the risk of violence by arming himself,” DeLury said.
“Mr. Cassell wasn’t looking for trouble but, unfortunately, he got caught up with trouble looking for him,” defense attorney Steve Scheffler said.
The domestic incident involved the mother of two of Cassell’s children and Tajai Hicks–Anderson, the other man in the video.
When Cassell ran from that scene, he was shot at, Scheffler said.
He also said there is evidence that someone in a mask showed up at Cassell’s home the morning of the shooting.
“They were actually hunting Mr. Cassell,” Scheffler told the judge. “They were looking to probably kill Mr. Cassell.”

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