NYPD Officer Kills 66-Year-Old Bronx Woman Who Was Acting 'Irrational'

An NYPD sergeant fatally shot 66-year-old Deborah Danner in a Castle Hill apartment on Tuesday night after police said she swung a baseball bat at him.

According to a release from the department, shortly after 6 p.m. police responded to a call of "a female who was acting in an irrational manner" at 630 Pugsley Avenue. Sergeant Hugh Barry found Danner in a bedroom holding a pair of scissors, "and persuaded her to put down the scissors." The release states that she then "approached the sergeant and grabbed a baseball bat. As she attempted to strike the sergeant he fired two shots from his service revolver striking her in the torso."

Danner was pronounced dead at Jacobi Hospital. The Daily News identifies Barry as an eight-year veteran of the department. The shooting is being investigated by the NYPD's Force Investigation Division, and Barry has been placed on modified duty.

"That's not how it's supposed to go. It's not how we train," NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill told reporters on Wednesday morning. 

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"What is clear in this one instance, we failed. I want to know why it happened," O'Neill said. "When a life is taken as one was last night, you have to ask yourself tough questions...My commitment as police commissioner is to find out what went wrong and why."

The Daily News interviewed one of Danner's neighbors:

Raphelle Gundy, who lives on the second floor, said police took her out of the apartment several times, once in a straight jacket. She noted a dramatic decline in the woman after her mother died several years ago.

“She was hollering, screaming and spitting, and you would have thought this lady was possessed, but I knew she was mentally unbalanced,” she said. “I saw the change in her after her mother died. She used to speak to people when her mother was still alive.”


Danner's death can be seen as one of many — including Mohamed Bah, Eleanor Bumpers, and Glenn Broadnax — caused by the NYPD's failure to properly respond to mentally ill New Yorkers. The problem isn't limited to New York: According to the Washington Post, of the country's 762 fatal police shootings this year, 179 involved people with mental illness, and 40 involved people who were suicidal.


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