Killing of Deborah Danner

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Killing of Deborah Danner
DateOctober 18, 2016 (2016-10-18)
Time6:00 p.m.
Location630 Pugsley Avenue, Castle Hill, Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
TypeHomicide by shooting, police killing
ParticipantsSgt. Hugh Barry
DeathsDeborah Danner
AccusedHugh Barry
VerdictNot guilty on all counts

Deborah Danner, 66, was fatally shot by New York City Police Department Sgt. Hugh Barry on October 18, 2016, in her home in the Bronx, New York. According to police sources, she was armed with first a pair of scissors and then a baseball bat. According to an emergency medical technician, she had put the scissors down, and later on picked up a baseball bat. Barry was charged with murder and manslaughter in May 2017. He was acquitted in February 2018.[2]

On October 18, 2016, a neighbor called 911 at 6:05 p.m. and reported that Danner was erratic.[3] Police had been called to her apartment before. According to the police, Danner had scissors, and Barry talked her into putting them down. Then she picked up a baseball bat and swung at him. Barry shot Danner twice, fatally wounding her. He was the only officer in the bedroom, although others were on the scene.[4]

According to court testimony by Brittney Mullings, an emergency medical technician, Mullings had arrived before Barry. Danner had put down the scissors and Mullings was talking to her. Danner was not holding anything in her hands. Mullings was trying to explain to Danner why they had arrived. Barry then arrived, and did not talk to Mullings or Danner. The police interrupted their conversation, and Danner retreated into her bedroom. Six police officers followed Danner into her bedroom, and a minute later, Mullings heard two shots.[5]


Danner was mentally ill and had written an essay, "Living With Schizophrenia", in 2012. She was a parishioner who regularly attended Trinity Church Wall Street, and was active in that community's groups and ministries.[6]


Less than six hours after the death, Sergeant Barry was placed on administrative duty and stripped of his badge and gun.[7] According to The New York Times, "Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference that the sergeant had not followed training or protocols for dealing with those with mental illness, and for some reason had neither used his Taser nor waited for specialized officers trained to deal with such situations."[8]

The death of Danner, who was black, spurred a protest on October 19. Protestors marched from her apartment building to the 43rd Precinct station house. Marchers included members of the New York Black Lives Matter chapter.[9]

Barry was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on May 31, 2017.[10] Bronx County District Attorney, Darcel D. Clark's prosecution of Barry ultimately lead to an acquittal on all charges. [11] On February 14, 2018, Barry was acquitted by a judge in a non-jury trial.[12]


  1. ^ Rosenberg, Eli; Southall, Ashley (2016-10-19). "In Quick Response, de Blasio Calls Fatal Shooting of Mentally Ill Woman 'Unacceptable'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  2. ^ "Police Sergeant Acquitted in Killing of Mentally Ill Woman". The New York Times. February 15, 2018. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  3. ^ Rosenberg, Eli; Southall, Ashley (19 October 2016). "NYPD Sergeant Fatal Shooting Bronx Woman". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  4. ^ "Police Sergeant Acquitted in Killing of Mentally Ill Woman". The New York Times. February 15, 2018. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  5. ^ James C. McKinley Jr. (February 1, 2018). "Medic Offers Sharply Different Account of Woman's Death at Hands of Police". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Deborah Danner. "Living With Schizophrenia" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  7. ^ "NYPD Sergeant Fatal Shooting Bronx Woman". The New York Times. October 20, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  8. ^ "The Death of Deborah Danner". The New York Times. October 21, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  10. ^ "New York City Police Sergeant Charged With Murder in Bronx Woman's Death". The New York Times. May 31, 2017. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  11. ^ Mckinley, James C. Jr. (2 June 2017), "Officer's Indictment Makes Good on Prosecutor's Plea for Patience", The New York Times
  12. ^ "Police Sergeant Acquitted in Killing of Mentally Ill Woman". The New York Times. February 15, 2018. Retrieved 2020-10-07.