Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old mentally ill New York City woman, deserved better than to die on the wrong end of a veteran city cop’s gun, city officials said. Mayor Bill de Blasio, echoing his police commissioner, put the blame on Sgt. Hugh Barry for escalating a tense confrontation with the schizophrenic Danner into a fatal showdown, the New York Daily News reports.
Though Danner was armed with a pair of scissors and a baseball bat in her Bronx apartment, the mayor and Police Commissioner James O’Neill agreed the bungling that led to the bullets was avoidable. “The shooting of Deborah Danner is tragic and it is unacceptable,” the mayor declared. “This should never have happened. It’s as simple as that. Deborah Danner should be alive right now. Period.” Barry, who had never fired his gun on duty during his eight years on the police force, was stripped of his badge and weapon. “It’s distressing to me, the fact that it did end up this way,” said O’Neill in an unusually fast and harsh rebuke. “We just have to take a long, hard look at what happened. . . What’s clear in this instance is that we failed.” He declined to discuss specifics other than to say police policy is to “isolate and contain.” Police protocols call for officers to wait for officers from the Emergency Service Unit cops to arrive, and to use a Taser if the option is there.