Sources: Shot Pace student was legally drunk

October 23, 2010 6:52:08 AM PDT
Sources close to the investigation tell Eyewitness News that Pace University football player Danroy Henry had a blood alcohol level of .13 when he was shot and killed by police last Saturday night.

The legal limit in New York State is .08. Henry was also 20 years old. The legal drinking age is 21 in New York.

From the beginning, friends and family have denied that Henry was drinking the night of the shooting.

"Let me be clear. Even if it is true, my wife and I have said from the beginning that we want the whole truth. This becomes a part of that truth," his father, Danroy Henry Sr., said outside his home in Massachusetts on Friday. "But at the end of the day, the central question to us is, does that justify killing our son? ... We still fundamentally believe it isn't."

Sources say Henry had been inside Finnegan's Grill for at least hour before the deadly confrontation with police. Henry was the designated driver that night, friends have said.

Earlier, an investigator countered claims that Henry was left to die without swift medical help, saying Friday that the student received treatment from officers within three to five minutes.

Lawyers for some witnesses have alleged that Henery was neglected for up to 15 minutes after he was shot outside a bar disturbance in Thornwood, N.Y. early Sunday.

Based on interviews, radio recordings and dashboard cameras, police offered what they say is an accurate timeline. It all starts with a call of a disturbance at Finnegan's Grill at 1:19 a.m.

At 1:25, officers report shots fired and request EMS.

At 1:28, a radio call indicates a person is shot.

Over the next two minutes officers notice the severity of Henry's injuries. One goes to retrieve medical equipment. That's when an unidentified woman begins giving chest compressions. A police officer takes over while others attach a defibrillator and oxygen.

At 1:30, the first EMS crew arrives and a minute later a paramedic treats Officer Aaron Hess, and then Henry.

At 1:35, Henry is on a stretcher being wheeled to an ambulance. Passenger Brandon Cox who suffered a graze wound is bandaged up.

While not discussing other details of the investigation, Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno called the events tragic.

Police say they are still trying to identify a woman seen in cell phone video seen giving CPR to Henry. Authorities are also asking witnesses to come forward.

Alagno said Henry was handcuffed after the Shooting, but does not know how long the cuffs were on. He had said previously that Henry was uncuffed once officers saw the severity of his injury.

A preliminary autopsy confirmed "death by gunshot." Alagno did not say which officer's bullet caused the death or how many times Henry was hit. He said the investigation will take months.

Earlier Friday, Angela and Danroy Henry Sr. told ABC's "Good Morning America" that they don't want to turn their son's death into a racial issue; they said they just want the truth.

The family is biracial, according to their attorney.

Police have said that Henry sped away and hit two white officers after a policeman knocked on his car window.

Robert Coulombe, a Pace senior who shot video of the chaotic scene, said Thursday that he was behind Henry's car and did not see the shooting, but he heard the shots after he saw Henry pull away "as if he was being asked to leave the fire lane."

He said Henry drove only about 100 feet and couldn't have been going dangerously fast before crashing into a parked police cruiser.

About 70 football players and supporters attended a press conference in Tarrytown, N.Y., where a teammate, Daniel Parker, of Lauderhill, Fla., briefly recounted the chaos of that night.

"Can I help him? I know CPR," Parker, speaking in a steady voice, recalled telling police. "I said, `He's dying. Can I help him? Can I help him?' And I was cut off."

Parker's attorney, Bonita Zelman, prevented him from answering reporters' questions. Zelman previously said one officer threatened Parker with a gun and then four or five threw him to the ground and punched him.

Zelman and other speakers called for the state attorney general or the federal government to take over the investigation. Federal officials said they are monitoring the situation.

"Consistent with our general practice in cases involving allegations of this kind, our office, along with the FBI, is monitoring the situation and will, if appropriate, undertake an independent review of all of the available evidence to determine whether any federal criminal civil rights laws have been violated," said Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

A union representing one of the officers who fired on the car, Pleasantville Officer Aaron Hess, said Hess "acted in accordance with his training and as required under the circumstances."

The other officer who fired at the car has been identified as Mount Pleasant Officer Ronald Beckley.

On Thursday, Pace quarterback Joseph Romanick, of Slidell, La., appeared in court on a charge that he broke a store window in the aftermath of the shooting. His lawyer said evidence does not appear to support the charge.

Three other teammates are due in court next month on charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction. Police said they interfered with medical care. Their lawyer claims officers kept them from helping Henry as he lay dying.

Some information from The Associated Press.