Deborah Danner: 66-year-old woman with mental issues killed by NYPD
New York Police Department police officers knew about Deborah Danner, the 66-year-old Bronx resident who would act erratically at times. Police had been at her door several times, removing her in a strait jacket at least once.
But now the woman who residents knew as "Miss Danner" is now dead. Shot and killed by an NYPD officer, who decided to use his firearm instead of his Taser. That is the central focus of an investigation after Danner was gunned down Tuesday, October 18 2016.
Police were called after a neighbor said a woman was acting “in an irrational manner” in her apartment building. When officer arrived they said, according to media reports, that she was wielding a pair of scissors.
She was soon persuaded to drop those as officers edged closer to her. Then she grabbed a wooden bat and lunged at an officer.
“As she attempted to strike the sergeant, he fired two shots from his service revolver, striking her in the torso,” Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen told the New York Daily News.
“The sergeant was armed with a Taser. It was not deployed, and the reason it was not deployed will be part of the investigation and review,” Nikunen is quoted as saying.
Public figures have come out to condemn the shooting, calling it unjustifiable.
New York Senator Ruben Diaz said in a statement.
"To me, it is very difficult to understand how a woman who is  years old and has emotional problems should have to die like this, especially if there are four or five police officers in the room with her," according to NBC New York.
Raphelle Gundy, a neighbor, said that Miss Danner's emotional state seemed to take a nosedive after her mother died several years ago.
“She used to speak to people when her mother was alive. When her mother passed, little by little she started getting very withdrawn and very inward,” Gundy told the Wall Street Journal. “This is something that’s gradually been progressing.”
The police sergeant who fired the fatal shots is an eight-year veteran. He has been placed on a different desk and stripped of his gun and shield, an NYPD spokesman told the Daily News.
“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,” Diaz was quoted as saying.
"We’re determined to get to the bottom of what happened and won’t rest until we do," Mayor de Blasio tweeted after saying he had been briefed on the situation.
Danner was a well educated woman. The New York Post reported this graf, which shows some of her work history:
"Danner listed several places of employment since 1976, including as a tech support analyst at Morgan Stanley, payroll supervisor at Columbia University, production control analyst at Marsh & McLennan, associate systems programmer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and senior clerk at the New York City Education Department."
Gundy, speaking to the New York Daily News, said that Danner was known to make a lot of noise in her apartment, although she lived alone.
“She was hollering, screaming and spitting, and you would have thought this lady was possessed, but I knew she was mentally unbalanced,” she said. “She’s hollering and screaming talking about how she’s going to hurt somebody,” she said. “This lady was talking like she was battling somebody.”