Moments before Deborah Danner was fatally shot by NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry in her Bronx bedroom, the emotionally disturbed woman grabbed a wooden baseball bat, drew it over her shoulder, took a step forward — but never swung at the sergeant.
On the fourth day of testimony in Barry’s murder trial, NYPD Police Officer Camilo Rosario — the cop closest to Barry at the time of the shooting — said that Danner made “a circular movement” with the bat, prompting the seasoned sergeant to pull out his firearm.
“Drop the bat! Please, drop it!” Rosario recalled Barry yelling to Danner as he demonstrated the motion in front of a Bronx courtroom Monday using the same bat the mentally ill senior clutched before she died.
“If you come in here I’m going to fight you!” Rosario said Danner screamed back to Barry.
“I saw him with the weapon…I’m looking back and forth (from one person to the other),” the cop testified as he described the tense scene.
“She moved her left foot forward…towards the sergeant. And two shots were fired.
“I couldn’t do nothing,” Rosario said.
Prosecutors charge that Barry, then an eight-year veteran of the department, disregarded his training and mismanaged the situation on Oct. 18, 2016, involving Danner, a 66-year-old paranoid schizophrenic.
Meanwhile, Officer John Martin told a Bronx courtroom that Danner was seated on her bed clutching the object, prompting Barry to pull out his firearm and “point it at her.”
Martin recalled his superior yelling “Drop it! Drop it! Drop it!” at Danner, who he said was “agitated” and “angry” that law enforcement was in her seventh-floor apartment at the Jamie Towers Housing Co. in Castle Hill.
About five seconds lapsed before Barry pulled the trigger, Martin said. He testified the sergeant immediately took out his radio and reported that shots had been fired.
Martin said Barry, a patrol supervisor with the 43rd Precinct, had been “very calm” when he drove the sergeant to Danner’s residence on Oct. 18, 2016.
He said Barry maintained his composure as he rode the elevator to the building’s seventh floor with Danner’s sister, Jennifer Danner, who mentioned her sibling had a psychiatric history.
Martin said as he and Barry approached Danner’s apartment, he saw two EMTs in the hallway outside the unit. He said before the shooting, neither went inside because Danner was armed with a pair of scissors.
Martin said the cops staggered themselves in front of the doorway to Danner’s bedroom, with Barry in the lead.
“I believed that we were going to grab Ms. Deborah and get her to the hospital,” he said.
“I took a quick glance…I leaned to the right, I saw what she had,” Martin said, referring to what he now believes was a baseball bat.
“When I saw Sgt. Barry with the weapon out is when I got back to my position,” he added. “After that I heard two shots.”