Police at the scene of the shooting Tuesday night.
A Bronx, New York woman was fatally shot by police Tuesday night and local officials want to know why the police used deadly force against the mentally disturbed woman.
The NYPD said that at around 6 p.m. Tuesday, police in the 43rd Precinct responded to a 911 call for an emotionally disturbed person. The call came from a neighbor complaining of a woman acting in an irrational manner.
One of the first police officers on the scene, Sergeant Hugh Barry, encountered 66-year-old Deborah Danner in a bedroom armed with a pair of scissors, according to police. Barry was able to convince Danner to put down the scissors, but she then allegedly grabbed a baseball bat and attempted to strike the cop with it. That's when Barry shot her twice in the torso.
She was taken to a local hospital where she died.
The shooting has left the public seeking more information as to why Barry used deadly force in the encounter with Danner and didn't opt to instead use a stun gun.
After the shooting, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio tweeted, “We’re determined to get to the bottom of what happened.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. also expressed frustration with the events Tuesday night, calling it an “outrage” and “totally unacceptable.”
“Tonight’s shooting of a mentally disturbed, 66-year-old woman in the 43rd Precinct is an outrage, especially given the New York Police Department’s knowledge of this woman’s history and the police officer’s possession of a stun gun,” Diaz said in a statement.
“While I certainly understand the hard work that our police officers undertake to keep the streets of our city safe every single day, I also know what excessive force looks like. 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. That is totally unacceptable.”
Diaz called on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and District Attorney Darcel Clark to investigate the shooting.
Neighbors confirmed to reporters that Danner was known by the local police and they were called about her a few months earlier.
One neighbor said that she was “very disturbed,” adding, “I give cops the benefit of the doubt right now.”
NYPD says it conducting a full review of the incident, including an investigation into why a taser was not deployed instead. Officer Barry has been placed on modified duty.
On Wednesday, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill called the incident a failure on the part of the police department.
“What is clear in this one instance, we failed. I want to know why it happened,” O’Neil said.