First Of 5 NYC Officers Iinvolved In Deadly Shooting Goes Before Grand Jury

Monday, March 5th 2007, 4:05 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Two of five police officers involved in the 50-shot fusillade that killed an unarmed man on his wedding day appeared before a grand jury Monday.

The shooting that killed Sean Bell and wounded two of his friends prompted community outrage and questions about police tactics. The survivors claim the officers never identified themselves as police before they opened fire.

The first officer to appear, Detective Paul Headley, left the closed-door session feeling ``relieved that he had the opportunity to tell his version of events,'' said his attorney, John Arlia. ``Clearly, it has been a toll on him and his family.''

Headley, 35, did not speak to reporters after testifying for more than two hours.

Officer Michael Carey, 26, arrived a short time later accompanied by Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

``He will go in there and tell his story as a police officer and put some facts to some of the fiction that ran on the streets,'' Lynch said.

The grand jury called the officers in the order of the number of shots they fired. Headley fired one round and Carey fired three. They were to be followed by Marc Cooper, who shot four times, Gescard Isnora, who fired 11 shots, and Michael Oliver, who shot 31 times.

Last week, the grand jury heard from the two survivors, Joseph Guzman, 31, and Trent Benefield, 23.

Bell, 23, was killed before dawn after his bachelor party at a topless bar where police had launched an undercover operation in response to complaints about prostitution. He was to be married later that day.

Police union representatives and lawyers for the officers have said their clients overheard Bell and his friends arguing with another bar patron and were going to retrieve a gun from their car.

Prosecutors have declined to discuss the case.