New York City Police Sgt. Hugh Barry, who fatally shot a mentally ill Bronx woman, is arguing for a change in venue for his murder trial.
According to the New York Post, in court documents, which provide Barry’s first public account of his deadly encounter with 66-year-old Deborah Danner, Barry describes the moment he says he realized that Danner had given up the scissors she had for an “indisputably deadly weapon”—a bat.
“As Sergeant Barry rushed into the bedroom, Ms. Danner grabbed a thirty-two (32) inch wooden bat from under the covers on the bed,” the document reads. “[She] turned toward [Barry], and held the bat in a right-handed baseball-batter stance, with her right hand above her left, with the bat above her right shoulder near her ear.
“In response to the deadly threat posed ... Sergeant Barry immediately drew his firearm.,” the documents added.
In October, officers were responding to a call of an “emotionally disturbed person” and encountered Danner, who was apparently wielding a pair of scissors. According to authorities, Barry managed to persuade her to drop those, before she then picked up a bat to attack Barry. Barry shot Danner twice in the chest, killing her.
In the papers that provide Barry’s perspective on the ordeal, he claims that when officers arrived at Danner’s house and went into her living room, there was no sign of her. Barry looked into the bedroom and says he saw Danner “on her bed furiously snapping a pair of green-handled metal scissors.”
Barry then asked Danner to put the scissors down, but she brandished them in his direction, saying, “I’m not fucking coming out!” according to the report.
Eventually Danner was convinced to drop the scissors and come to the bedroom door, but as Barry backed into the living room, to allow her out, Danner stopped at the door and said that she was not going any further, the report reads.
She then retreated back into the bedroom. Barry became worried that Danner, whom he described as a 5-foot-7, 233-pound woman, would rearm herself.
“He was concerned because Ms. Danner appeared to be a strong, robust woman, and it would be difficult to disarm her if she once again grabbed the scissors,” the court papers indicate.
Barry went into the room again and saw Danner grab a bat that was hidden under her sheets.
Barry was “unable to retreat from the bedroom due to the proximity of the threat posed by Ms. Danner, the size of the bedroom, and the presence of the officers behind him.” He repeatedly asked Danner to “please drop the bat,” according to the report.
“Within seconds, Ms. Danner lunged off the bed and at Sergeant Barry while swinging the bat directly at his head,” the documents indicate.
“Sergeant Barry was within feet of Ms. Danner and would have been struck in the head with the bat if he did not fire his weapon when he did,” according to the papers. “Sergeant Barry fired two shots center mass, consistent with his NYPD training.”
Barry was carrying a stun gun at the time of the shooting, but it was not deployed. The shooting raised questions about the New York City Police Department’s use of force and the protocol that should be used when dealing with “emotionally disturbed” individuals.
Barry is facing charges of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide.
Read more at the New York Post.