Just as the grand jury began deliberating on the Sean Bell case yesterday, a last minute witness came forward, in effect purporting to have the key to the inexplicable shooting. Sources say a janitor arrived at the 115th Precinct station house in Queens and informed detectives that he saw a gunman fire a single shot at cops and flee into a building as police returned fire. Such a revelation resurrects the controversial fourth-man theory, lending credence to the cops’ explanation of that evening’s events, except of course for the fact that they never said a man had opened fire on them.
Sean Bell, 23, was gunned down in a spray of 50 bullets, killing him last Nov. 25 as he and his friends left his bachelor party at the Kahlua Club in Queens. The Cops who fired said they believed someone in Bell’s party was carrying a gun, and confronted the group in Bell’s car as they tried to pull off. No gun was recovered. In court, their defense claimed that Bell attempted to use his car as a weapon.
The New York Post reports that the 11th-hour witness had been interviewed before, but failed to give cops this information. Queens DA Richard Brown is now faced with the decision whether to introduce this witness to the grand jury or let them proceed without his testimony. At his National Action Network headquarters, the Rev. Al Sharpton said of the new development, "It’s always questionable in these situations."
The cops involved face charges ranging from reckless endangerment to depraved indifference murder. Today, the NYPD will move officers into place, in case there are demonstrations prompted by their indictment or failure to indict.