MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – A police chief whose officers were involved in the fatal shooting of Easton native Danroy Henry calls the Pace University student's death a "truly tragic situation.''
In an interview with the Globe this afternoon, Mount Pleasant Chief Louis Algano identified the officers who fired the shots that killed Henry as Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess and Mount Pleasant Officer Ronald Beckley.
Algano said the New York State Police major crimes unit and the Westchester County district attorney's office have joined the investigation, and that the results of the inquiry will be presented to a grand jury to decide whether criminal charges will be brought against the officers involved.
The Pleasantville police declined comment today and referred all questions to Algano.
Henry, his Pace University football teammate Desmond Harris, and Henry's childhood friend, Stonehill College football player Brandon Cox, were in Henry's car early Sunday morning when police went to break up a fight at Finnegan's Grill.
Algano said Pleasantville Officer Hess was the first officer to notice the fight and also the first officer to try to break it up. He said Hess was in the parking lot near Henry's car when another officer knocked on the window of Henry's car. Henry's car was parked in the fire lane in front of the nightspot.
"For unknown reasons, the operator sped away,'' Algano said today.
Hess was swept up onto the hood of Henry's car, the chief said. As Henry allegedly drove away, a Mount Pleasant officer was hit by the driver's side mirror, Algano said.
Hess and Beckley both opened fire within seconds of each other with Hess firing first, Algano said. Henry's car collided with a parked cruiser before coming to a stop in the parking lot.
Cox, who was in the front seat and was grazed by a bullet, was treated and released from Westchester Hospital, officials said. Henry was pronounced dead at the same hospital.
Hess, Beckley, and two other officers were treated at Westchester Hospital for injuries, including stress-related trauma, Algano said.
Algano said all three football players were inside the bar before the shooting, but it was not clear if they had any role in the fight that drew law enforcement into the situation.
Algano said about 150 people, many of them Pace students, were milling around the bar. Eventually, 50 police officers had to be called to calm the situation.
"It was a very chaotic situation,'' the chief said.
Today, police tape still hangs over a window of a store in the strip mall shopping center where the bar is located. Employees at the bar declined comment. A small shrine of flowers and candles has appeared in the parking lot near where Henry was shot.
Pace University senior Olivia Drabczyk dropped off flowers this afternoon. With tears in her eyes, she said she was not at the bar, but she did know Henry.
"He was a lot of people's friend,'' she said.
Drabczyk said some of her friends were at the nightspot and they have told her that officers pointed their firearms at them after Henry was shot.
"They had guns pulled on them,'' she said. "They were treated like animals.''
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