A 66-year-old psychology professor was found dead in his Brooklyn home during an apparent home invasion, and the suspect was found hiding inside a closet, police said.
Officers were responding to a 911 call for a burglary in progress on Stratford Road in Prospect Park South at around 6 p.m. Monday when they found the victim unconscious and unresponsive inside the basement, police said.
The man, identified as Jeremy D. Safran, had trauma to the head and body, according to police. As the officers continued to search the basement, they found a 28-year-old man inside a closet.
The suspect, Mirzo Atadzhanov of Brooklyn, was arrested on murder and burglary charges, police said Tuesday. Attorney information for him wasn't immediately clear but he told reporters as he was led from a police station Tuesday that he was defending himself. He didn't elaborate.
Neighbors described Safran as a long-time resident of the Stratford Road home.
"It's appalling," one witness said at the scene. "It's a lovely looking neighborhood and it's a great place to live. But this is New York City and you just can't drop your guard."
Safran was a professor of psychology and former co-chair of the Department of Psychology at The New School, according to a spokeswoman.
"An internationally renowned psychotherapist, Jeremy was deeply respected and admired by The New School community and his colleagues throughout the psychology profession for his work on psychoanalytic theory and practice, as well as research on psychotherapy processes and outcomes," The New School communications director Amy Malsin said in a statement, noting he earned "countless distinctions: for his work.
"We offer our deepest condolences to his family and will be offering support to his many friends and colleagues throughout the university community in the days ahead," she said.