A friend called Mr. Groomes “a wonderful guy” and a regular neighbor. “If anybody would try to mess with his character, I would defend him on that,” the friend, Sikkim Assing, said. Ms. Assing, who is also a retired correction officer, said she understood why Mr. Groomes would want to have a gun permit. “A lot of people choose to carry a gun because we work with the garbage of New York,” she said. “We got to protect ourselves.”
William Groomes, the sixty-nine-year-old man who shot and killed Gilbert Drogheo, an unarmed thirty-two-year-old electrician, in the Borough Hall subway station using a nine-millimeter handgun that was lawfully carried with a concealed weapon permit, has been retired from the Corrections Department since 1993, meaning that he has not “work[ed] with the garbage of New York” in more than twenty years. While Drogheo’s co-worker, Joscelyn Evering, has since been charged with assault and menacing — Groomes was punched in the head, leading to what the Times characterizes as a “prolonged confrontation that spilled from subway car to platform to mezzanine” — and Groomes stated his intent to place the two under (citizen’s?) arrest after they got off the train, since neither was under the custody of the New York City corrections department at the time, it is unclear whether or not they would have qualified as “the garbage of New York,” requiring Groomes to protect himself in the estimation of a fellow corrections officer.
Under New York law, it’s permissible to use deadly force to counter a threat of similarly deadly force — after an attempt at retreat has been made. Groomes has not been charged with any crime, and according to the Times, “no decision had been made on whether to charge him.”
Photo by David Woo