Answers Sought in Brooklyn Bystander Shooting

Rev. Al Sharpton joined the victim’s family in demanding the NYPD move swiftly to determine who fired the shots. 

Posted: 09/12/2011 11:34 AM EDT
Filed Under Al Sharpton, Crime

Al Sharpton

Rev. Al Sharpton hurled sharp words toward the New York Police Department Sunday and demanded they come to a conclusion about whether the fatal shot that killed an innocent woman in Brooklyn on Labor Day was fired from an officer’s gun.

"We don't know where the bullet was from," said Sharpton according to the New York Daily News. "We know where it wasn't from the guy at the shootout. We will not give up until we find out what happened to Denise."

Denise Gay, a 56-year-old a retired home health aide, was sitting outside her home in Brooklyn when she was shot in the head and killed by a stray bullet during a shootout between two residents, Eusi Johnson and Leroy Webster, and police.

One week later, the details of the incident are still unclear. It was initially reported that Johnson and Webster were engaged in a gun battle when police intervened, and that stray bullets from Webster’s gun killed Gray. But after ballistics tests showed that the fatal bullet could not have been fired by Webster and no evidence was found of Johnson ever having a gun at the scene, fingers began to point at the police officers, who, in total, fired 72 shots to subdue the men.

In addition, police say that upon examination, a bullet from Gray’s head did not have the telltale markings that are characteristic of bullets fired from rifled handguns like the one allegedly used by Webster.

The number of shots fired by the officers is also raising eyebrows. New York City public advocate Bill de Blasio said in a statement, “the number of shots fired alone merits careful investigation.” Sharpton echoed the sentiment, concerned that the incident was yet another instance of excessive force by police in the Black community.

"There was a crime they were responding to," Sharpton said. "But to those who act thuggish in our community with your barbaric disregard for our lives you make us vulnerable, too. You put us in a position we should never be in."

 

Over the 2011 Labor Day weekend, 67 people were shot and 13 were killed in New York City.

 

(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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