Tuesday in the Bronx, the NYPD received a call from a neighbor of Deborah Danner, who was acting very irrationally. The subsequent visit from officers resulted in the fatal shooting of the 66-year-old woman.
When officers arrived at the 7th floor apartment, they first saw Danner in the bathroom. According to officials, Danner was naked and armed with scissors when Sgt. Hugh Barry first approached her. After he got her to put down the scissors, she picked up a baseball bat and tried to hit him with it, said police.
The sergeant then fired two shots from his gun, officials said. Danner was hit twice in her torso and taken to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Danner, who suffered from schizophrenia, has had 911 calls made about her in the past. After reviewing the fatal shooting of Danner, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said that it appears that proper protocol for handling someone with mental disturbances was not taken.
The NYPD has opened an investigation into the shooting to determine what actions need to be taken against Barry.
“The sergeant was armed with a Taser. It was not deployed, and the reason it was not deployed will be part of the investigation and review,” Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen (pictured above) said.
Other public figures have denounced the shooting and called the actions of the officer completely unacceptable.
“This elderly woman was known to the police department, yet the officer involved in this shooting failed to use discretion to either talk her down from her episode or, barring that, to use his stun gun,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Barry was placed on modified duty and stripped of his gun and shield, pending the outcome of the investigation, an NYPD spokesman said.
Diaz believes that the handling of mentally ill people needs to be treated with a specific type of care. He even suggested that this shooting makes it clear that officers need additional training for these types of situations.
"To me, it is very difficult to understand how a woman who is 66 years old and has emotional problems should have to die like this, especially if there are four or five police officers in the room with her," Diaz said in a statement.
(Photo: Courtesy of CBS)