Police Kill Bat-Wielding Woman in Castle Hill Houses



A police sergeant fatally shot Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old woman, when she charged at him with a baseball bat in her Bronx apartment Tuesday evening, the NYPD says.

The New York Post identified the officer as Sgt. Hugh Barry. He has been placed on modified duty pending an investigation.

Officers responding to a neighbor’s 911 complaint about the woman on Pugsley Avenue in Castle Hill entered the woman’s seventh-floor apartment at about 6 p.m., according to police officials at a news briefing Tuesday.

A uniformed sergeant encountered the woman, who was naked and armed with scissors, officials said. He persuaded her to put down the scissors but as soon she did so, she picked up a baseball bat and tried to hit him with it.

That’s when the sergeant fired two shots from his service gun, officials said. The woman was struck twice in the torso. She was taken to Jacobi Hospital where she later died.

Officials said there had been past 911 reports regarding Ms. Danner, who has schizophrenia. One woman who lives in the building said that recently “they brought her out in a straitjacket, she was hollering and screaming.”

Ms. Danner had a Twitter account. She joined Twitter in February 2012 and had tweeted since September 7, 2013. In July 2013, she tweeted a rather prophetic observation:





NBC New York reported that Police Commissioner O’Neill called the shooting of Deborah Danner “distressing” and pledged a thorough investigation. According to reports, investigators would be looking into why the sergeant did not deploy his stun gun, for example.

“We do have policies and procedures for handling emotionally disturbed people and it looks like some of those procedures weren’t followed,” O’Neill said. “What is clear in this one instance: we failed.”

State Senator Ruben Diaz says the shooting was indefensible. He pointed out that the woman was black and the police officer who killed her is white.

“I cannot understand why there was a need to use deadly force,” said Diaz.

Senator Diaz — whose daughter is also an NYPD sergeant — called for better training of officers when dealing with mentally ill and emotionally disturbed persons. He added that “if [the police] must shoot, they must shoot in the leg and not in the chest.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. called for an immediate investigation by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Bronx DA Judge Darcel Clark. Under an Executive Order by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Schneiderman is empowered to examine all police-involved shootings of unarmed civilians and, if necessary, take the case to a grand jury. But since Ms. Danner was reportedly armed with a knife and a bat, it remains to be seen if Schneiderman has jurisdiction.

Mayor de Blasio promised to get to the bottom of what happened and pledged “we won’t rest until we do.”  De Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill are holding a news conference later today.

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