NEW YORK – A police officer on trial for fatal shooting of a mentally ill woman in her Bronx apartment, said he tried to grab the woman before she had a chance to pick up a pair of scissors again.
The New York Times reported Sgt. Hugh Barry testified on Tuesday that Deborah Danner, 66, was walking back to her room and grabbed a baseball bat.
“She was too fast for me,” Barry said. “The last thing I want is for her to go in the room and a pair of scissors in the hand.”
Barry said he drew his gun and begged her to drop the bat, but she stepped up to him.
“I just see the bat swinging, and when I fired,” he said. “I’m looking at these bats that crack me in the head and kill me.”
Barry is on trial for murder in Danner’s Oct. 18, 2016 shooting. The police were called to her house. Danner was a paranoid schizophrenic who was admitted to the hospital at least 10 times.
Barry’s lawyer, Andrew Quinn, said in his opening statement that Barry dismissed because Danner was with a bat on his head.
In his testimony on Tuesday, Barry said that when he arrived at the apartment Danner was on her bed, angry, cutting paper with a scissors. He said that he tried to convince her to come out for a medic, but she refused, slamming the scissors down on the bedside table and standing just outside the door.
“I made a judgment call,” Barry said. “I thought I was close enough to grab her.”
Danner’s death drew a rare rebuke from the mayor and the commissioner of police. After a two-month grand jury investigation, Barry was charged in May of 2017 with murder, manslaughter, and other charges.
The death of Danner, who was black, in the hands of Barry, who is white, invited comparisons to the 1984 police killing of another black Bronx woman, Eleanor Bumpurs, who was shot after waving a knife at officers while being evicted from her apartment.
Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com