Bronx News
May 31, 2017

BRONX NEWS: NYPD sergeant charged with murder of schizophrenic Bronx woman

A Bronx sergeant, already blamed by the mayor in the fatal shooting of a schizophrenic senior citizen, was arrested Wednesday for murdering the elderly woman, officials said.

Sgt. Hugh Barry was indicted by a Bronx grand jury in the Oct. 18, 2016, death of Deborah Danner, 66, during a tense confrontation in her Castle Hill apartment.

The eight-year NYPD veteran, charged with murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, was held on 0,000 bond or ,000 cash bail after entering a plea of not guilty to all counts.

The sergeant, in a black suit and blue tie, stood silently with his uncuffed hands clasped behind his back. He stared straight ahead inside the Bronx courtroom, offering no hint of his thoughts.

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Barry pulled the trigger and mortally injured Danner after the mentally ill woman put down a pair of scissors — and picked up a baseball bat.

“I think this is great news for society,” said Wallace Cooke, 74, an NYPD retiree and Danner’s cousin. “Debbie had no reason to die, and the cop had no reason to shoot her.”

Cooke blamed Barry for mishandling the situation after a neighbor called police to report that Danner was screaming. When the cops arrived, Danner was inside a rear bedroom clutching the scissors.

Barry convinced Danner to put down the scissors. He opened fire after she grabbed the bat and rushed at him.

Police shooting of Bronx woman eerily similar to 1984 incident

“He intended to kill her, no doubt,” Cooke told the Daily News. “When you shoot somebody twice in her own bedroom? All he had to do was close the damn door and walk out.”

The NYPD announced Wednesday that Barry was placed on suspended duty pending the results of his criminal case in the Bronx. He was due back in court on July 7.

“The arrest of the NYPD sergeant charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Deborah Danner is a good step in a long walk toward justice,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who invoked the 1984 police killing of Eleanor Bumpurs.

The Bronx woman was the same age as Danner when she was fatally shotgunned by a police officer who was acquitted of manslaughter.

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Both Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said almost immediately after the shooting that Barry had bungled the call.

Sergeants Benevolent Association President Edward Mullins, in a lengthy Facebook posting, defended Barry’s handling of the situation.

De Blasio and O’Neill “did not just throw Sgt. Barry under the bus,” said Mullins. “In the court of public opinion, they ran him over with a steam roller.”

The murder indictment was “an absolute travesty of justice,” said Mullins.

Grand jury to probe NYPD shooting of Deborah Danner

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. praised the grand jury for its diligence.

“What happened to Deborah Danner was an outrage,” said Diaz. “Clearly, there were options available to Sgt. Barry which he failed to implement.”

O’Neill said after the shooting that Barry did not follow proper procedure involving emotionally disturbed people. Cops are instructed to defuse situations until specially trained Emergency Services Unit officers reach the scene.

O’Neill’s comments sparked a rift with the sergeants’ union.

Mentally ill man sorry he tried to push woman onto subway tracks

Barry also kept his department-issued stun gun holstered, a tactical decision that came under heavy criticism.

“The shooting of Deborah Danner is tragic and it is unacceptable,” Mayor de Blasio said in October.

“This should never have happened. It’s as simple as that. Deborah Danner should be alive right now. Period.”

With Thomas Tracy, Laura Dimon

deborah danner
gun violence
new york murders
james oneill
bill de blasio
mental health
attacks on elderly

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NYPD sergeant charged with murder of schizophrenic Bronx woman

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