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March 13, 2012
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Shouts of 'Officer Down' at scene of football player's death

Calls escalated quickly from 'fight in progress' to frantic 'Shots fired!'

By PoliceOne Staff

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Newly released documents reveal the chaotic scene where a college football player was shot and killed by a police officer through the windshield of his moving car.

An officer feared he shot a fellow cop during the incident, with calls escalating quickly from "fight in progress" to frantic "Shots fired! Officer Down!"

Pleasantville Officer Aaron Hess was cleared by a grand jury of criminal wrongdoing in the shooting of Danroy Henry Jr., 20, of Easton, Mass., in 2010.  Henry's family — who released the documents Monday after a judge granted permission —  is suing him.

Henry was fatally shot as he drove away from a disturbance that spilled out of a bar in Pace’s homecoming game.

Hess said he was hit by the car driven by Henry and had to fire to stop the vehicle.

A few hours after the shooting, Mount Pleasant Officer Ronald Beckley, who also fired at the car, told a lieutenant that he feared he had shot Hess, according to the documents.

Beckley said he saw the car coming toward him and heard gunshots. He said he saw a person on the hood of the car and believed that person was firing, so he fired at 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 report said.

When Beckley learned Hess was injured, but hadn't been shot, he "began to cry, attempting to hold back his emotions."

Dashboard footage from another police car at the scene shows the aftermath, in which Henry and Hess are treated.

Statements to police show that responders initially thought Henry was dead and therefore focused their immediate attention on Hess, according to The Associated Press.

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