'I had no defense.' Long Island Rail Road Massacre survivors reflect 30 years later
"The Long Island Rail Road Massacre" airs tonight on a new episode of "Crime Files" - Friday at 9:30 on News 12. Below is reporting from Rachel Yonkunas for the special episode of "Crime Files."
On Dec. 7, 1993, a routine evening rush hour ride home on the Long Island Rail Road ended in bloodshed. Colin Ferguson boarded the 5:33 train to Hicksville at Jamaica Station and altered the lives of dozens of passengers.
Ferguson was armed with a handgun, five fully loaded clips and 240 rounds of ammunition. As the train pulled out of the New Hyde Park Station and approached the Merillon Avenue Station in Garden City Park, Ferguson drew his weapon, stood up and started shooting passengers at random.
Extended Interview: Mi Won Kim
Mi Won Kim’s sister, Mi Kyung, was murdered by Ferguson on December 7, 1993. She would always take the 5:33 train home from Penn Station to the Merillon Avenue Station.
Passengers had nowhere to run as Ferguson walked down the aisle and opened fire. He killed six innocent commuters and injured 19 others.
As Ferguson went to reload his gun a second time, three heroic passengers charged him and tackled him to the ground. They pinned him across a seat and held him down until an off-duty Long Island Rail Road officer, who was at the Merillon Avenue Station picking up his wife, put Ferguson into handcuffs.
It is the deadliest shooting in Long Island history and happened at a time before mass shootings were normalized.
Extended Interview: Terry Sullivan
Terry Sullivan, of Malverne, survived the 1993 shooting on the Long Island Railroad. He said drawing sketches on the train shortly after the massacre helped him find healing to take his mind off the massacre.
Ferguson retained civil rights attorney Ronald Kuby and his late partner William Kunstler. The duo believed Ferguson was not legally sane because of his exposure to racism over the course of his life. Their defense was characterized as the "Black rage" defense and a defense psychiatrist found Ferguson to be delusional.
Ferguson ultimately met the legal criteria for competency to stand trial and he rejected the insanity defense. Instead, he fired his defense team and decided to represent himself.
It took a jury 10 hours to find Ferguson guilty of 68 out of 93 counts, including the top charge of second degree murder.
Extended Interview: Joyce Gorycki
Joyce Gorycki became a crusader in the fight against gun violence since her husband James was killed in the 1993 LIRR shooting.
Ferguson’s three-day sentencing was the first time so many victims and victims’ families had appealed to a judge for a chance to speak since New York passed its law allowing victims to address the court before a sentencing in 1992. He is currently serving a 315 year prison sentence.