A retired New York correction officer fatally shot an apparently unarmed man following an altercation on a busy station platform in Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
Witnesses described a quarrel beginning when two younger men started harassing a 69-year-old man — later identified by the New York Times as Wiliam Groomes — after he stepped between them as he boarded a Brooklyn-bound train at Manhattan's Bowling Green station at 6:30 PM.
"They were talking mad trash," a witness named Thomas Berry told the New York Daily News. "They must have been drunk."
The Daily News reported that police described all three men as black, though Berry suggested that one of the two younger men might have been Hispanic.
The witness described one of the younger men saying to the older man, "Oh, I got you now, my n-----," as he tried to board the train, to which the older man responded, "I'm not your n-----, I'm not your boy."
The argument continued as the train travelled one stop to Borough Hall, where Berry said one of the younger men punched the retired officer in the head as he tried getting off. The older man then pulled a 9-millimeter handgun from a holster.
A scuffle broke out between the men, with the younger pair exiting the train. Groomes followed them onto the platform as other passengers fled in panic. Berry reported seeing him load a clip of ammunition into the gun, and described his apparent effort to detain one of the men, who was later identified as 32-year-old Gilbert Drogheo.
Video taken by a witness at the scene shows the retired corrections officer following Drogheo up a flight of stairs to the station's mezzanine level, where he appears to punch Drogheo in the face. During the ensuing struggle, Groomes fired at least one round into Drogheo's chest shortly before 6:45 PM, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Nearby commuters screamed and fled after the gunshot rang out.
Police have not released the name of the 29-year-old who was accompanying Drogheo. He was taken into custody for questioning.
Police took Groomes to be examined at a hospital before questioning him at a police precinct. The New York Post reported that he told the authorities that Drogheo and his companion had attempted to rob him. The paper noted that Groomes was released on Wednesday morning and ordered hours later to return for more questioning.
No charges in the case have been filed as of Wednesday morning.
Photo via Flickr