Man charged in home invasion that killed New School professor

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Mirzo Atadzhanov, 28, has been charged with murder and burglary. Mirzo Atadzhanov, 28, has been charged with murder and burglary.
PARK SLOPE SOUTH -

Police have identified the home invasion suspect who they say they found hiding in a basement in a Stratford Road home, where he allegedly killed a 66-year-old New School professor from behind.

Mirzo Atadzhanov, 28, has been charged with murder and burglary. Police say officers responding to Jeremy Safran's home at 155 Stratford Road found Atadzhanov inside around 6 p.m. Monday.

Police say he entered Safran's basement through a side door, killed the man and hid in a nearby closet, covered in blood. 

As officers escorted Atadzhanov out of the NYPD's 70th Precinct, a reporter asked him to explain the incident.

"I protect myself," he said, as officers pushed him into the back of a police car. "I defend myself."

Safran was a psychology professor at the New School and former co-chair of the Department of Psychology. 

"Jeremy was deeply respected and admired by the New School community and his colleagues throughout the psychology profession for his work," the school said in a statement. "We offer our deepest condolences to his family."

Police say he had wounds to the back of the head and body. Investigators found a hammer at the scene.

Safran's wife, Jennifer, and daughter were in the home at the time, police say.

Doreen Giuliano is a neighbor who lives across the street. She says she saw the intruder and alerted Safran's wife.

She says first she sent a text, and then the two spoke outside and called 911.

"While we were out talking on the lawn, he was inside killing Jeremy," Giuliano says. "Jeremy was a sweetheart. He was a gentle soul. He was a good man."

Giuliano is also known as the "Undercover Mother." She had changed her appearance to befriend a juror in her own son's murder case in an effort to have his conviction overturned. It was, although a retrial may be pending.

The medical examiner's office has not yet released an official cause of death for Safran.

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