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Atty: Cop who shot at athlete not in danger

Jay Lindsay

A police officer was not in harm’s way when he fired the first shot at a Pace University football player who was killed by police, an attorney for the athlete’s family said Friday.

Danroy “D.J.” Henry of Easton was shot in his car by police who were responding to a disturbance that spilled outside a Thornwood, N.Y., bar on Oct. 17.

Police have said an officer knocked on the window of a car Henry was driving, and he drove away and hit two officers. But passengers said Henry was trying to move his car out of the fire lane and wasn’t a threat to police.

Attorney Michael Sussman said a ballistics expert he hired determined the same officer fired at least three shots, one into the hood and two into the windshield.

Sussman said the angle of the shot into the hood indicates it was fired from the side and that it would have come first since the officer was on top of the hood when he fired twice into the windshield.

“The first shot was fired by an individual who was not in harm’s way, who was not in the path of the vehicle, who was off to the side,” he said.

Sussman added that some people have suggested Henry drove into officers as they stood in the middle of the road.

“But assuming they were in the middle of the road and then shot (at the car), you wouldn’t expect the (shot) angle to be the angle that exists,” he said.

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing.

Hours after Sussman’s comments, about 1,700 people filled a ballroom at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for a memorial service on the day Henry was to turn 21.

Childhood pictures of Henry — at the beach, wearing Mickey Mouse ears, buried in bubbles in a tub — flashed on a screen as mourners walked in.

In welcoming remarks, pastor Gideon A. Thompson of Jubilee Christian Church emphasized, “We are here to celebrate his life.” He prayed that those in the audience would strive to do the good Henry would have if he were still alive.

Associated Press