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Best friend says justice will come for dead Pace athlete

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Best friend of football player shot by police says justice will prevail
  • Brandon Cox was wounded during the incident last weekend
  • His friend, Danroy "DJ" Henry, was killed by police gunfire

New York (CNN) -- A wounded passenger in the car driven by a Pace University football player fatally shot by police said Saturday that truth will prevail and his best friend will get justice.

Brandon Cox, who plays football at Stonehill College, spoke to CNN affiliate WCBV about the incident after watching his teammates play Saturday.

"I just want everybody to know what a great kid he was," Cox said of Danroy "DJ" Henry. "What a great friend he was. He was just genuinely a caring person."

Cox declined to provide details of the shooting or elaborate on a report by CNN affiliate WABC-TV in New York, which cited sources who said Henry had a blood alcohol level of .13, making him legally drunk.

"They still had no right to fire on him," he said. "Either way. I don't see them being able to justify that."

Cox, who was in the seat next to Henry, said police are not in contact and are putting out information before talking to him.

"There were so many people there and I just know that the truth will come out and that we will get justice for DJ," said Cox, whose left arm was grazed by a bullet.

The police chief of the New York City suburb where the shooting occurred disputed claims Friday that officers left Henry handcuffed on the ground for up to 20 minutes.

Speaking at a news conference, Chief Louis Alagno, of Mount Pleasant, New York, read a timeline of events taken from a radio recording and a dashboard camera that recorded the incident.

He said the recordings reveal that only three minutes passed between the time police reported shots fired and the time Henry -- a 20-year-old resident of Easton, Massachusetts -- received initial first aid attention. He said only 10 minutes passed before Henry was loaded on a stretcher and wheeled to an ambulance.

Earlier in the week, Cox's mother, Donna Parks, told CNN that police "pulled DJ out of the car, handcuffed him, put him face down on the ground and left him there for 15 to 20 minutes."

Alagno could not say how long Henry was in handcuffs nor at what time the handcuffs were removed, but said that authorities took them off and tried to save Henry's life as soon as they discovered his condition.

The shooting occurred after a police officer came across "a large group of unruly patrons" in front of Finnegan's Grill in Thornwood, New York, and called for support shortly after 1 a.m. October 17, according to a police news release. Some 50 police officers responded to the brawl, which continued after the shooting incident, the statement said.

Officers were breaking up fights, police said, when "a vehicle parked in the fire lane" accelerated. A police officer tried to stop the vehicle, which Henry was driving, but its mirror struck the officer and the officer "ended up on the hood," said police.

Another officer tried to pull the first one down from the hood and the car struck him as well. The officer on the hood shot at the driver, but the vehicle continued in the fire lane in the direction of a third Mount Pleasant officer. That officer also fired at the vehicle, according to the police news release.

Parks disputed the police account. She said Henry and others in the car were waiting for a friend to come out of the establishment "when a police officer banged ... on the window." She said Henry began driving after her son told him that he thought police wanted him to move his car.

"Another police officer with his gun drawn just ran out in front of DJ's car," said Parks, insisting Henry had no time to stop.

Alagno said all the people in the car -- including Henry -- were handcuffed because it was considered a "felony stop" since gunfire was involved.

Authorities have launched an investigation involving Mount Pleasant police, New York State Police and others to determine what happened. The probe, expected to take two to three months, will be "long and difficult," said Alagno, who has been Mount Pleasant's police chief since 2001.

CNN's Deborah Brunswick contributed to this report.