NEW YORK — An NYPD sergeant has been placed on modified duty after police said he shot and killed an emotionally-disturbed woman who confronted him with scissors and a baseball bat.
It happened shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday inside the 66-year-old woman’s apartment at Jaime Towers Housing at 630 Pugsley Avenue in the Castle Hills section of the Bronx.
Police said the NYPD sergeant who arrived at the home after receiving a call about an emotionally-disturbed person found the woman with scissors in her hand.
“He engaged the female in conversation and persuaded her to put down the scissors,” said NYPD Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen. “The female subject approached the sergeant and grabbed a baseball bat. As she attempted to strike the sergeant, he fired two shots from his service revolver, striking her in the torso.”
She was immediately rushed to Jacobi Hospital, but did not survive.
Nikunen said there have been several incidents with the woman with similar types of calls. Neighbors said she had a history of erratic behavior.
“The lady be hollering, screaming,” Raphelle Gundy said. “You think she’d be in there wrestling with somebody, talking very violently.”
In minutes, news spread through the neighborhood that the woman from apartment 7-E was dead, shot by a white police officer.
“Knowing this lady, they was probably defending themselves,” Gundy said. “I didn’t see it, but they were probably defending themselves.”
Police said the sergeant was armed with a Taser, which was never deployed. Now, Black Lives Matter activists and members of the community want accountability.
“It’s disturbing that police do not de-escalate these situations,” said Black Lives Matter activist Hawk Newsome. “They have Tasers, they have mace. Why is it that people always end up dead?”
“It’s not about rallies, it’s about programs that need to be set in place by the NYPD,” said resident Paul Nickerson.
In a statement, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.condemned the shooting of a mentally disturbed woman.
“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 said. “That is totally unacceptable.”
Public Advocate Letitia James said she was also “deeply concerned.”
“I am calling for a swift and thorough investigation into this tragic incident and for the findings to be released publicly,” James said in a statement. “While we are still learning details about this evening’s incident, I am renewing my call to expand the use of non-lethal use of force by the NYPD.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was briefed on the shooting and promised a full investigation.
“We’re determined to get to the bottom of what happened and won’t rest until we do,” he said on Twitter.
We’re determined to get to the bottom of what happened and won’t rest until we do. https://t.co/jPT1U4fX1H
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) October 19, 2016
Nikunen said the reason that Taser was not deployed “will be part of the investigation and review.”
The sergeant was taken to the hospital for an evaluation, which standard after a shooting.