Family criticizes NYPD for shooting of mentally ill woman

Family members of a mentally ill woman gunned down Tuesday are demanding consequences for the police officer who pulled the trigger.

Family members of a mentally ill woman gunned down Tuesday are demanding consequences for the police officer who pulled the trigger. (10/19/16)

THE BRONX - Family members of a mentally ill woman gunned down Tuesday are demanding consequences for the police officer who pulled the trigger.

An NYPD sergeant fatally shot Deborah Danner, 66, while responding to a 911 call at a Pugsley Avenue apartment around 6 p.m. in Castle Hill.

According to police, Danner was inside her apartment and armed with scissors. Police Sgt. Hugh Barry, an eight-year veteran of the force, told Danner to put down the scissors and walk out of the room. She picked up a bat and attempted to swing it at Barry, who shot her twice in the stomach. 

She later died at Jacobi Medical Center, police said.

Jennifer Danner, the victim's sister, said she believes police did not follow the proper procedure for handling a mentally ill person.

"I want to make it very clear that the New York City Police Department has once again failed to properly respond to dealing with mentally ill patients without resorting to deadly physical force," she said.

Jennifer Danner called on Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch to fully investigate the slaying.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the shooting "tragic and unacceptable."  

Police Commissioner James O'Neil told the press "we failed." He said police should only use deadly force in dire situations and ought to protect life.

Wallace Cooke Jr., a cousin of Danner who is also a retired police officer, said he would have handled the situation differently.  He said his cousin had schizophrenia and may have been off of her medication at the time of the shooting.

Barry has been placed on modified assignment.

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