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Police Fire on Each Other at N.Y. Subway Stop; 3 Hurt

August 24, 1994| From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Police officers from two different agencies responded to a report of a man with a shotgun on a packed subway platform and mistakenly opened fire on each other as panicked passengers dove for the floor, authorities said.

An off-duty city police officer, an undercover transit officer and a bystander were wounded during the rush-hour pandemonium in mid-town Manhattan. One of the officers was in critical condition Tuesday with multiple wounds.

"It was chaos," commuter Kelly Ramchandnani said. "There were people all over the place. Everyone went down on the floor, in the station and inside the last car."

Police Commissioner William Bratton called it "a friendly fire situation. It's going to take us a while to see what transpired."

A 19-year-old woman was wounded in the leg, apparently by the man with the shotgun. She was treated at a hospital and released.

The trouble began shortly after 7 p.m. Monday, when several passengers told a pair of uniformed transit officers that a man with a gun was on the platform below.

Four undercover transit officers working pickpocket detail on a different platform responded, as did an off-duty city police officer who was taking the subway home.

Police were handcuffing one of two suspects when a loud bang rang out, apparently from the shotgun, Bratton said.

In the subsequent fusillade, undercover transit officer Desmond Robinson, 31, was shot four times in the torso; doctors said a bullet nicked his heart. He was in critical condition at Bellevue Hospital. Off-duty city officer Peter Del-Debbio, 31, was hit once in the arm and was in stable condition.

"In all likelihood," Transit Police spokesman Albert O'Leary told New York Newsday, "it appears that DelDebbio fired and hit Transit Police Officer Robinson."

Damal Parham, 16, was charged with criminal possession of a .22-caliber handgun, police said.

Officers recovered a sawed-off shotgun at the scene and later arrested Shea Kisine Davis, 17, on charges of assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.

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