Police sought answers Wednesday from a retired correction officer after his dispute with a pair of strangers ended with a fatal shooting that spread panic inside a subway station at the height of the evening rush hour a day earlier.
The former officer, whose name was not made public, shot Gilbert Drogheo at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Borough Hall station in Brooklyn, police said. Investigators took him into custody but later released him without charges after he agreed to meet on Wednesday for more questioning.
The mayhem began when the retired officer, who’s 69 years old, boarded a Brooklyn-bound subway train in Manhattan, police said. He was armed with a small Ruger handgun that he was licensed to carry in public, they said.
According to witnesses, it appeared that the former officer angered Drogheo, 32, and another man by stepping in between them while they were talking, police said. The men and the officer argued before they pushed him down into an empty seat on the train, police said.
In connection with the train encounter, police Wednesday announced the arrest of Joscelyn Evering, charging him with assault and menacing for his actions against the ex-officer. Evering, 28, was held for an initial court appearance, though it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.
All three men exited the train at the next stop in Brooklyn, where there was a second confrontation on the station’s mezzanine level, police said. The retired officer tussled with Drogheo before pulling his weapon and firing one round, which struck the victim in the chest, they said.
New York Police Department officers assigned to the station heard the gunshot and quickly detained the shooting suspect. Drogheo, who was from Harlem, died at a hospital. The other man was taken into custody.
Television station WCBS broadcast a cellphone video showing a man it identified as the retired officer cornering a smaller man near an exit in the subway station and pushing him. The men are seen struggling before a gunshot is heard and bystanders scatter.
Subway passenger Thomas Berry, who witnessed the dispute, told the Daily News the older man had initially tried to avoid trouble.
The officer told the other two men, “‘Leave me alone. Don’t talk to me,'” Berry said. “He was being really calm.”
But as the dispute grew more heated, the older man flashed a gun, Berry said.
“Everyone said ‘gun’ and ran off the train,” he said. “I was standing there in shock.”