Student death document describes chaotic NY scene

JIM FITZGERALD Associated Press Published:

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) -- The officer who shot and killed a college football player in his car in 2010 could easily have been shot himself -- by another officer -- according to a police document released Monday.

The police report says Mount Pleasant Officer Ronald Beckley told a lieutenant a few hours after the shooting that he feared he had shot Pleasantville Officer Aaron Hess.

The report was released by the father of Danroy Henry Jr., the Pace University football player who was killed by Hess on Oct. 17, 2010. More evidence from the Henry family's civil lawsuit against Hess and related cases is expected to be released later Monday. A judge last week authorized the release.

Henry, 20, of Easton, Mass., was fatally shot as he drove away from a disturbance that spilled out of a bar in Thornwood, N.Y., after Pace's homecoming game.

Hess has acknowledged that he shot Henry through the windshield of Henry's car. He says he was hit by the car and thrown onto the hood and had to fire to stop the car.

A Westchester County grand jury cleared him of criminal wrongdoing.

Beckley also fired at the car but did not hit anyone. The police report suggests he was aiming at Hess, not knowing he was a fellow officer.

In an email message, Danroy Henry Sr. said the document shows Beckley perceived Hess, not Henry, as the threat.

"What actually gets Beckley's attention is a shooter, not a reckless driver running people over who had to be gunned down to stop the threat," the father said.

Hess' attorney did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

According to the document, Beckley told the lieutenant he had fired his gun during the disturbance. He said he heard gunshots nearby and saw a car speeding toward him.

Beckley "saw a person who was dressed in dark clothing on the hood of the vehicle," and believed that person was firing the shots, the lieutenant wrote.

"Officer Beckley stated that he believed he was going to be killed by the vehicle and that he drew his weapon and fired at the car," the report said. "He believed he had shot the person on the hood of the vehicle. It wasn't until after the car stopped that he realized the person he thought he had shot at was police Officer Aaron Hess."

The lieutenant wrote that when Beckley learned Hess had been injured by the car but not been shot, he "began to cry attempting to hold back his emotions."

The report does not mention Henry.