Monday, October 18, 2010
State police join probe of Pace student's shooting
State police have joined the investigation into the killing of a 20-year-old Pace University student by officers outside a Westchester bar.
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno, who previously called the shooting “horrendous,” said at a news conference Monday that the major case unit of the state police and Westchester County crime scene experts have joined the probe.
Danroy Henry of Easton, Mass., was killed early Sunday after police were called to a disturbance at a bar in the hamlet of Thornwood.
"This is going to be a long hard investigation," Alagno said. "And we will be as thorough as possible to identify exactly what happened, and why it happened."
"I can't describe or answer to you why the driver did what he did," he added.
The cops involved were identified as:
--Aaron Hess, a former NYPD officer, a Pleasantville cop.
--Carl Castagna, a Mount Pleasant cop.
-- Ronald Beckley, a Mount Pleasant cop.
--Ronald Gagnon, a Mount Pleasant cop.
The shooting may also mark the first time cops in Mount Pleasant have killed someone.
"It may have been many, many years ago when a police officer interrupted an armed robbery," the chief said. "He engaged the robber in a gun battle. He was wounded, and wounded one of the robbers. That was many years ago -- 20 years ago. I don't believe a Mount Pleasant officer has ever shot or killed anyone."
Henry’s car was parked in a fire lane outside Finnegan’s Grill. When Gagnon knocked on the window, the car accelerated and Hess wound up on the hood, police said. The car then hit another officer , and shots were fired. Hess and Beckley both fired shots.
Henry was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in his car suffered a minor gunshot wound.
Henry was a junior and varsity defensive football player at Pace.
“Not only are we experiencing this great loss, but we’re also beside ourselves because we just absolutely can’t understand how this could happen to our son,” Danroy Henry Sr. told the Brockton Enterprise outside the family’s Massachusetts home.
Henry Sr. and his wife, Angela, had watched their son play in Pace’s homecoming game against Stonehill on Saturday, attended by about 500 people.
“You’re going to get the police reports. So we’re going to need to do some work on our end to make sure that that’s all factual. ... There are a lot of witnesses who say that that’s not the version, so we need to get to the bottom of it, one way or another,” Henry said.
Henry's family were secluded in their home today, but left a note on the door, with photos of him in his football uniform.
"Please give us time and space to grieve. We appreciate and love all of you! We know you loved DJ too," the note said.
"You can help by telling everyone and the media how wonderful Danny was! What type of a person he was. Talk about his character, smile and how above all, he loved his family! We will not stop until the truth is out! Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Alagno said Sunday, “It’s something that I would hope would never have happened here, but unfortunately it did, and we’ll proceed with a very, very thorough investigation.”
“I don’t know why they shot him at all,” freshman Kelly Van Wort, 18, told the Journal News.
“Someone told me he hit one of the cops. I don’t think someone deserves to die for that,” Van Wort added.
Henry "was such an amazing person, one of those all-around good guys who you'd never think something like this would happen to," said friend Gina Falcone. "There's clearly a huge misunderstanding."
Annmarie Masciarelli, a close friend and next-door neighbor of Daroy Henry's family said, "The family feels that he was singled out by the police because he's a young African-American"
A campus candlelight vigil in Henry’s memory was held Sunday evening.