Subway shooter Bernhard Goetz turns himself in

Subway shooter Bernhard Goetz turns himself in

Bernhard Goetz, the white man dubbed the “subway vigilante” after he shot four young Black men on a New York City subway train, turns himself in at a police station in Concord, New Hampshire. Goetz claimed that the men, all of whom had criminal records, were trying to rob him and that he had acted in self-defense. At the time, New York was in the midst of a crime wave and Goetz was viewed by some people as a hero, an ordinary citizen fighting back against his attackers.

The shooting occurred on the afternoon of December 22, 1984, when Goetz (1947- ), a Queens, New York, native who owned an electronics business, boarded a Manhattan subway. Soon after, he pulled out a gun and shot the men, whom he claimed were attempting to rob him. Goetz then fled the scene and drove to Vermont, where he buried the gun. The men all survived the shooting, although one was seriously injured. On December 31, Goetz turned himself in to New Hampshire police.

In 1987, a Manhattan jury acquitted Goetz of criminal assault and attempted murder. However, he was convicted on weapons charges for carrying a gun without a license and spent eight months in jail.

Darrell Cabey, who was left paralyzed and brain damaged by the shooting, filed a lawsuit against Goetz and in April 1996 a Bronx jury awarded him $43 million. Goetz filed for bankruptcy soon afterward. Before and during the trial, Goetz, who expressed no remorse for his actions, made inflammatory statements, saying he had done a public service by shooting the men and society would be better off if their mothers had aborted them.

In the decades following the shooting, Goetz, who remains a controversial figure, has been a candidate for mayor of New York and an advocate for vegetarianism.


Bernhard Goetz: The Subway Gunman

Bernhard Hugo Goetz shot four young men on December 22, 1984, that were allegedly trying to mug him on a New York City Subway train, resulting in his conviction for illegal possession of a firearm. He came to symbolize New Yorkers' frustrations with the high crime rates of the 1980s. The incident sparked a nationwide debate on race and crime in major cities, and the legal limits of self-defense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernhard_Goetz
Two
days before Christmas, 1984, a 37-year-old self-employed electrical
engineer named Bernhard Goetz descended into New York City's subway
system at the 14th Street Station and boarded the IRT's No. 2 Express.
The thin, bespectacled Goetz found himself in the same car with four
black teenagers -- James Ramseur, 19, Darrell Cabey, 19, Troy Canty, 19,
and Barry Allen, 18. When Canty told Goetz to give him five dollars,
Goetz stood up, drew a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver from
under his blue windbreaker, and began shooting.
http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id311.htm
During
the early 1980s, New York City experienced unprecedented
rates of crime. Murders during the decade
averaged almost 2,000 a
year and, in the city's increasingly dangerous
subway system,
thirty-eight crimes a day, on average, were
reported. Citizens did
not feel safe. It is not surprising,
therefore, when the city's newspapers ran stories on
the December 22
shooting on the IRT express, the shooter was widely
praised for his
actions: "Finally," many a New Yorker said, "someone
has had the
courage to stand up to these thugs."
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f . count.html

Jul 18, 2013 #2 2013-07-18T18:28





Dec 31, 1984: Subway Vigilante Turns Himself In

Bernhard Goetz, the white man dubbed the “Subway Vigilante” after he shot four young black men on a New York City subway train, turns himself in at a police station in Concord, New Hampshire. Goetz claimed that the men, all of whom had criminal records, were trying to rob him and that he had acted in self-defense. At the time, New York was in the midst of a crime wave and Goetz was viewed by some people as a hero, an ordinary citizen fighting back against his attackers.

The shooting occurred on the afternoon of December 22, 1984, when Goetz (1947- ), a Queens, New York, native who owned an electronics business, boarded a Manhattan subway. Soon after, he pulled out a gun and shot the men, whom he claimed were attempting to rob him. Goetz then fled the scene and drove to Vermont, where he buried the gun. The men all survived the shooting, although one was seriously injured. On December 31, Goetz turned himself in to New Hampshire police.

In 1987, a Manhattan jury acquitted Goetz of criminal assault and attempted murder. However, he was convicted on weapons charges for carrying a gun without a license and spent eight months in jail.

Darrell Cabey, who was left paralyzed and brain damaged by the shooting, filed a lawsuit against Goetz and in April 1996 a Bronx jury awarded him $43 million. Goetz filed for bankruptcy soon afterward. Before and during the trial, Goetz, who expressed no remorse for his actions, made inflammatory statements, saying he had done a public service by shooting the men and society would be better off if their mothers had aborted them.

In the decades following the shooting, Goetz, who remains a controversial figure, has been a candidate for mayor of New York and an advocate for vegetarianism.


‘Death Wish’ Suspect Held : Victim of 1981 Mugging Admits Subway Shootings

A middle-aged Manhattan man sought in the “vigilante” shooting of four youths who had harassed him and demanded $5 in a subway car nine days ago surrendered to police Monday in New Hampshire.

Police said the man, Bernhard Hugo Goetz, 37, drove up to the police station in Concord, N.H., about 12:45 p.m., walked in the front door and told the duty officer that he wanted to turn himself in.

“He indicated he was the individual responsible for the subway shooting,” Concord Police Chief David Walchak said in a telephone interview.

New York City authorities said that Goetz had been mugged by three youths in Lower Manhattan three years ago and had applied for a pistol permit shortly after. The permit was denied by police.

The subway shootings, which were likened to the 1974 film “Death Wish,” drew national attention and created bitter controversy here. More than 1,500 New Yorkers called police after the Dec. 22 shooting to offer sympathy and praise for the gunman, while others denounced the vigilante-type violence. The four youths remained hospitalized Monday, including one now paralyzed from the waist down.

Police said Goetz was not charged, pending his extradition to Manhattan. Goetz waived extradition, and an assistant district attorney and two New York City detectives arrived in Concord, about 280 miles north of Manhattan, Monday evening to interview him and bring him back.

New York police said Goetz has no police record, is divorced and works at home as a self-employed electrical engineer.

The police said they had been searching for Goetz since Wednesday after a caller told them that Goetz owned a pistol and resembled a police artist’s sketch of the gunman. One of Goetz’s neighbors, who asked not to be identified, said police left a note in Goetz’s door saying they wanted to speak to him.

“He was the one suspect we were working on,” said Alice McGillion, deputy New York police commissioner.

Several neighbors in his 17-story, yellow-brick Upper Greenwich Village apartment house described Goetz, whom they called “Bernie,” as “nervous” and seemingly eccentric.

“He was odd sometimes,” recalled Alex Papanastasiou, a 29-year-old microfilm technician who lives down the ninth-floor brown-carpeted hallway from Goetz. “You’d bump into him in the elevator and I’d say hello and he’d move to the other side of the elevator and start laughing. You’d say, ‘How’s the weather,’ and he’d start laughing.”

Papanastasiou said he met Goetz carrying a small bag on the elevator early Sunday afternoon. “I asked him if he was ready for New Year’s, and he waited a second and said, “Not really,’ ” he said.

Another neighbor, who declined to give her name, said Goetz was “a little eccentric, a little nervous.” But German Brito, doorman in the building, said Goetz had lived in the building for about six years and was “a very nice guy.”

According to New York police, the subway shooter opened fire with a .38-caliber pistol after four youths harassed him in the subway car and one of the youths asked him for $5. The gunman reportedly told the youth, “I have $5 for each of you,” before firing. Two of the youths were hit in the back, apparently as they tried to run.

All four had arrest records, and three carried long, sharpened screwdrivers in their pockets, police said.

Concord Police Lt. Don Callahan said Goetz gave an account of the shooting that “was found to be consistent” with the account provided by New York police. He said Goetz, a trim, clean-shaven man with blue eyes, blond hair and wire-rim glasses, also “closely matched the description” published by police after the shooting.

It was not immediately clear why Goetz, who was born in Queens, N.Y., drove to New Hampshire to turn himself in. Callahan said Goetz drove into Concord in a gray Chevrolet that he had rented in New York and had come via Vermont.

“We assume he knew we were looking for him and he took off,” New York police spokesman Joseph McConville said.

McConville said three youths had assaulted Goetz and had attempted to steal his coat on Jan. 21, 1981, on a street in Lower Manhattan. Police said he applied for a pistol permit later that year, but they denied the permit in 1982 after deciding that his business did not require a weapon.

New York Mayor Edward I. Koch, who earlier had criticized the public response to the shooting, expressed delight at news of the surrender. “Whether he is a victim or a villain will be determined by a grand jury, and ultimately, if there is an indictment, by a trial jury of his peers,” Koch said in a prepared statement. “He will now have an opportunity to tell his story, and all of us await the details.”


Trials and Public Image

In the subsequent criminal trial in 1987, a predominantly white jury in Manhattan acquitted Goetz of attempted murder, but he was found guilty of illegal firearms possession count, for which he served less than a year. Yet pressure to hold the shooter accountable for his actions landed Goetz back in court. This time, though, Goetz refused to stay on the sidelines.

“I wanted to kill those guys. I wanted to maim those guys. I wanted to make them suffer in every way I could…. If I had more bullets, I would have shot them all again and again. My problem was I ran out of bullets.” - Bernhard Goetz

Following the conclusion of his first trial, he&aposd become much more vocal about the problems facing the city. He pushed for all civilians to arm themselves and told one reporter that Cabey&aposs mother would have been better if she&aposd had an abortion. In 1996, a civil jury in the Bronx found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded Cabey, who had been paralyzed by the shooting, $43 million in damages. Goetz immediately declared bankruptcy.

As he started to do before his second trial, Goetz embraced celebrity. He appeared in a pair of small films, pushed for the legalization of marijuana, made a run for the mayor&aposs office, made a variety of television and radio appearances and even opened a new store called Vigilante Electronics.

In November 2013, Goetz made headlines again after he was arrested on drug charges. He was taken into custody after selling $30 worth of marijuana to an undercover police officer in New York City. In 2014, those charges were later dropped by a judge who said the prosecutors had taken too long to bring the case to trial.


Contents

Bernhard Goetz stated that three years before the incident, he had been attacked in the Canal Street subway station, while transporting electronic equipment, by three black youths who attempted to rob him. [9] The attackers smashed Goetz into a plate-glass door and threw him to the ground, injuring his chest and knee. [10] [ failed verification ] Goetz assisted an off-duty officer in arresting one of them the other two attackers escaped. Goetz was angered when the arrested attacker spent less than half the time in the police station spent by Goetz himself, and he was angered further when this attacker was charged only with criminal mischief for ripping Goetz's jacket. [11] [10] Goetz subsequently applied for a permit to carry a concealed handgun, on the basis of routinely carrying valuable equipment and large sums of cash, but his application was denied for insufficient need. [11] He bought a 5-shot .38-caliber revolver during a trip to Florida. [11]

In the early afternoon of Saturday, December 22, 1984, four young men from the Bronx—Barry Allen, Troy Canty, and Darrell Cabey, all 19 and James Ramseur, 18—boarded a downtown 2 train (a Broadway–Seventh Avenue express). The teens, each of whom had previously been arrested and convicted at least once, stated they were on their way to rob a video arcade in Manhattan. [2] [12] When the train arrived at the 14th Street station in Manhattan, fifteen to twenty other passengers remained with them in an R22 subway car, [13] [14] the seventh car of the ten-car train. [15] [16]

At the 14th Street station, Goetz entered the car through the rearmost door, crossed the aisle and took a seat on the long bench across from the door. Canty was across the aisle from him, lying on the long bench just to the right of the door. Allen was seated to Canty's left, on the short seat on the other side of the door. Ramseur and Cabey were seated across from the door and to Goetz's right, on the short seat by the conductor's cab. [15] According to Goetz's statement to the police, approximately ten seconds later, Canty asked him, "How are you doing?" Goetz responded, "Fine." According to Goetz, the four youths allegedly gave signals to each other, and shortly thereafter Canty and Allen rose from their seats and moved over to the left of Goetz, blocking him off from the other passengers in the car. Canty then said, "Give me five dollars." Goetz subsequently pulled a handgun and fired multiple shots at the four youths, wounding all. Canty and Ramseur testified at the criminal trial that they were panhandling, and had only requested the money, not demanded it. Cabey did not testify and Allen took the Fifth Amendment.

Sequence of shots Edit

Sources differ in reporting the sequence of shots fired, and whether Cabey was shot once or twice. The following are four versions from significant or reliable sources describing the sequence of shots:

Cabey shot on the fourth shot Edit

At the Bronx civil trial, Goetz testified the first shot was Canty, Allen second, the third shot missed, Cabey fourth, and Ramseur fifth. The following similar shooting sequence is verbatim from Goetz's website:

"I decided to shoot as many as I could as quickly as I could. I did a fast draw, and shot with one hand (my right), pulling the trigger prior to the gun being aligned on the targets. All actual shots plus my draw time occurred easily within 1.6 seconds or less. This is not as difficult to do as some might think, and occasionally I give a description of the technique along with a re-enactment. The first shot hit Canty in the center of the chest. After the first shot my vision changed and I lost my sense of hearing. The second shot hit lightning fast Barry Allen in the upper rear shoulder as he was ducking (later the bullet was removed from his arm). The third shot hit the subway wall just in front of Cabey the fourth shot hit Cabey in the left side (severing his spinal cord and rendering him paraplegic). The fifth shot hit Ramseur's arm on the way into his left side. I immediately looked at the first two to make sure they were "taken care of," and then attempted to shoot Cabey again in the stomach, but the gun was empty. I thought Cabey was shot twice after reading a media account no shots missed I had lost count of the shots and while under adrenaline I didn't even hear the shots or feel the kick of the gun. 'You don't look too bad, here's another', is a phrase I came up with later when trying to explain the shooting while I was under the impression that Cabey was shot twice. Cabey, who was briefly standing prior to the shooting, was sitting on the subway bench during all attempted shots. The others were standing. Shortly after the shooting my vision and hearing returned to normal." [17]

Goetz does a dry fire shooting demonstration (five shots in 1.0 seconds at 4 hypothetical targets on both sides of him) on the Biography Channel show Aftermath with William Shatner. [18]

Cabey shot on the fourth and fifth shots Edit

Prior to the criminal trial, the media reported that Cabey had been shot on the fourth shot and then again on the fifth shot, with Goetz saying, "You don't look too bad, here's another," or, "You seem all right, here's another." [5] This sequence of shots was discredited at the criminal trial when it was revealed that Cabey was shot once in the left side however, some media still reported [19] the false information long after the criminal trial.

Cabey shot on the fifth shot Edit

"Speed is everything," Goetz said in a videotaped statement made after he surrendered nine days later. [15] He told police that while still seated, he planned a "pattern of fire" from left to right. He then stood, stepped clear of Canty, drew his revolver, turned back to Canty, and fired four shots, one at each man, then fired a fifth shot. [15] At the civil trial years later he said, "I was trying to get as many of them as I could." [20] Other sources repeated Goetz's statements to New York City police as to the sequence of shots: Canty was shot first, then Allen, then Ramseur, then Cabey. [16] [15] In the related proceeding People v. Goetz, the New York Court of Appeals summarized the incident:

It appears from the evidence before the Grand Jury that Canty approached Goetz, possibly with Allen beside him, and stated "Give me five dollars." Neither Canty nor any of the other youths displayed a weapon. Goetz responded by standing up, pulling out his handgun, and firing four shots in rapid succession. The first shot hit Canty in the chest the second struck Allen in the back the third went through Ramseur's arm and into his left side the fourth was fired at Cabey, who apparently was then standing in the corner of the car, but missed, deflecting instead off a wall of the conductor's cab. After Goetz briefly surveyed the train scene around him, he fired another shot at Cabey, who then was sitting on the end bench of the car. The bullet entered the rear of Cabey's side and severed his spinal cord. [21]

According to his statements to police, Goetz checked the first two men to make sure that they had been "taken care of," then upon seeing that the fourth man, Cabey, was now sitting down and seemed unhurt, said, "You seem to be all right, here's another," and fired at him again. [22] Cabey was hit only once, [15] [19] [23] [16] [24] a fact not made known to Goetz or his attorneys until shortly before the trial. One bullet missed, fragmenting on the steel cab wall behind Cabey — this missed shot would also be the basis of a charge of reckless endangerment of other passengers. [24]

Time magazine's theory (April 8, 1985) Edit

Goetz said one of the "boys" made gestures that may have implied he had a weapon. [11] Goetz rose and partly unzipped his jacket where the revolver was concealed, and plotted his "pattern of fire" for shooting them. [11] He asked Canty what he had said, and he repeated his statement. At this, Goetz unzipped his jacket the rest of the way, drew the gun, assumed a combat stance gripping the revolver with both hands, and shot Canty through the center of his body. He then turned to shoot Allen who had tried to flee, hitting him in the back, and then shot Ramseur, wounding him in the chest and arm. [11] He then shot again, at Cabey, but may have missed. According to Goetz he then approached Cabey and shot him on the ground however, another witness disputed that Goetz shot Cabey a second time. [11]

Cabey and the "here's another" issue Edit

Cabey ended up slumped in the short seat in the corner of the car next to the conductor's cab. [14] Whether Cabey was struck by the fourth shot or by the fifth was critical to Goetz's claim of self-defense this issue was fiercely contested at trial. [16] Medical testimony said that such an injury would render the lower half of Cabey's body instantly useless. According to the prosecution, the fourth shot missed then Goetz shot a seated Cabey at point-blank range with the fifth. The defense theory of how Cabey ended up in the seat was that he was standing when hit by the fourth shot, then collapsed into the seat due to the lurching and swaying of the train, with the fifth shot being the shot that missed. [15]

A summary of Goetz's statements to the police had become public two months after the incident, drawing intense media coverage. Probably most damaging to Goetz's public support and to his claim of acting in self-defense was his statement that he had said, "You don't look so bad, here's another," before firing at Cabey a second time. Media concentration on the summary's more damning portions created a public mindset that a wounded Cabey was shot a second time, with the second shot taken in a premeditated and deliberate way—an impression that stood uncorrected until the criminal trial two years later. [5] The notion that Cabey was shot twice would still occasionally appear in mainstream sources over a decade later, as it did in a 1996 New York Times editorial. [23]

At trial, one witness testified that Goetz approached to within "two to three feet" of a seated Cabey, then demonstrated how Goetz stood directly in front of Cabey and fired downward, a description that matched Goetz's published statements. [15] : 138 [16] : 123–125 Eight other independent witnesses testified that all shots came in "rapid succession" [16] : 171 one of these said the firing lasted "about a second". [15] : 102 None of the eight heard a pause before the final shot, and none saw Goetz standing in front of Cabey. [15] : 235

Whether Goetz actually said aloud the words "You don't look so bad, here's another" or only thought them is still a matter of dispute. He has subsequently denied on several occasions making the statement. [25] One source said, "In all probability, the defendant uttered these words only to himself and probably not even mouthing the words, but just saying them in his own mind as he squeezed the trigger that fifth time." [16] : 175

Flight and surrender Edit

The terrified passengers ran to the other end and out of the car, leaving behind the two women who had been closest to the shooting, fallen or knocked down by the exodus, and immobilized by fear. Goetz talked to them to make sure they were not injured, then was approached by the conductor of the train. Goetz told him, "They tried to rob me and I shot them." [15] : 102 The conductor asked whether Goetz was a police officer, receiving the reply, "No." Some time after a brief conversation in which he refused to hand over his revolver, [15] : 102 Goetz jumped to the tracks and ran south through the tunnel to the Chambers Street station, where he exited the system. [16] He went home to gather some belongings, then rented a car and drove north to Bennington, Vermont, where he burned his blue jacket and dismantled the revolver, scattering the pieces in the woods north of town. He drove around New England for several days, registering at motels under various names and paying in cash.

On December 26, an anonymous hotline caller told New York City police that Goetz matched the gunman's description, owned a gun, and had been mugged previously. [26] [27] On December 29, Goetz called his neighbor, Myra Friedman, who told him that police had come by his apartment looking for him, and had left notes asking to be contacted as soon as possible. [10] He gave his side of the story to Friedman, and described his psychological state at the time: [10]

Myra, in a situation like this, your mind, you're in a combat situation. Your mind is functioning. You're not thinking in a normal way. Your memory isn't even working normally. You are so hyped up. Your vision actually changes. Your field of view changes. Your capabilities change. What you are capable of changes. You are under adrenaline, a drug called adrenaline. And you respond very quickly, and you think very quickly. That's all. . You think! You think, you analyze, and you act. And in any situation, you just have to think more quickly than your opposition. That's all. You know. Speed is very important.

Goetz returned to New York City on December 30, turned in the car, picked up some clothing and business papers at his apartment, rented another car and drove back to New England. Shortly after noon the next day, he walked into the Concord, New Hampshire, police headquarters and told the officer on duty, "I am the person they are seeking in New York." [27]

Statements to police Edit

Once the officer realized that Goetz was a genuine suspect, Goetz was given a Miranda warning and he waived his right to have an attorney present. After an interview that lasted over an hour, a Concord detective asked Goetz to consent to making an audiotaped statement. Goetz agreed, and a two-hour statement was recorded. That evening, New York City detectives and an assistant district attorney arrived in Concord, and Goetz submitted to a two-hour videotaped interview. Both interviews were eventually played back for the grand juries, the criminal trial, and a civil trial years later. When the audiotape was first played in open court, Goetz was described by The New York Times as "confused and emotional, alternately horrified by and defensive about his actions, and obsessed with justifying them." [28]

In his statements, Goetz described his past mugging, in which he was injured and the only assailant arrested went unpunished. He called New York City "lawless" and expressed contempt for its justice system, calling it a "joke," a "sham," and "a disgrace". Goetz said that when the four youths he shot surrounded him on the train, he feared being "beaten to a pulp" as well as being robbed. [29] He denied any premeditation for the shooting, something that had been speculated on by the press. [15] : 58 Asked what his intentions were when he drew his revolver, Goetz replied, "My intention was to murder them, to hurt them, to make them suffer as much as possible." [22] Later in the tape, Goetz said, "If I had more bullets, I would have shot 'em all again and again. My problem was I ran out of bullets." He added, "I was gonna, I was gonna gouge one of the guys' [Canty's] eyes out with my keys afterwards", but said he stopped when he saw the fear in his eyes. [30] At the criminal trial, Goetz's defense attorneys, Barry Slotnick and Mark M. Baker, argued that this and other extreme statements by Goetz were the product of emotion and an overactive imagination.

Goetz was brought back to Manhattan on January 3, 1985 and arraigned on four charges of attempted murder, with bail set at $50,000. He was held in protective custody at the Rikers Island prison hospital. [31] Refusing offers of bail assistance from the public and from his family, he posted bail with his own funds and was released on bond January 8. [32]

Early reports Edit

Because of the loudness of the shots inside the confined space of the subway car, there were initial witness reports that suggested the gun involved was a .357 Magnum revolver. Goetz alluded to these reports in a December 2004 interview on the Opie and Anthony radio show, saying that the first shot he fired that afternoon had been unusually loud in part because it was the first shot fired by the small-frame .38 caliber revolver after the factory tests, which "cleaned the barrel."

After the incident, reports spread that Goetz had been threatened with sharpened screwdrivers. [33] This rumor was published as fact by some newspapers including The New York Times [2] [34] however, neither Goetz nor the men made any such claim. During his subsequent statement to the police, Goetz expressed a belief that none of the young men had been armed. [35] Paramedics and police did find a total of three screwdrivers on two of the men when Canty testified at Goetz's criminal trial, he said they were to be used to break into video arcade change boxes and not as weapons. [2]

Bernhard Hugo Goetz was born in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of New York City's Queens borough on November 7, 1947, [36] the son of Gertrude (née Karlsberg) and Bernhard Willard Goetz, Sr. His parents were German immigrants who met in the U.S. [37] [38] His father was Lutheran his mother, who was Jewish, converted to Lutheranism. [39] [40] [41] [42] While growing up, Goetz lived with his parents and three older siblings in Upstate New York, where his father ran a dairy farm and a bookbinding business. [11] At the age of 12, he was sent to Switzerland, where he and his sister attended boarding schools. [43] Goetz returned to the United States in 1965 for college, and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and nuclear engineering from New York University. [11] By this time, the family had relocated to Orlando, Florida Goetz joined them and worked at his father's residential development business. He was briefly married. After his divorce, he moved back to New York City, where he started an electronics business out of his Greenwich Village apartment. [11]

"The Subway Vigilante", as Goetz was labeled by New York City media, was front-page news for months, partly due to the repressed passions the incident unleashed in New York and other cities. Public opinion tended to fall into one of three camps: those in the first camp tended to believe Goetz's version of the incident, that he was aggressively accosted and surrounded by the four teenagers and feared he was about to be beaten and robbed. Those in the second camp tended to believe the version told by the four teenagers, that they were merely panhandling to get some money to play video games. A third camp believed that Goetz had indeed been threatened, but viewed the shooting as an unjustified overreaction. [ citation needed ]

Supporters Edit

Supporters viewed Goetz as a hero for standing up to his attackers and defending himself in an environment where the police were increasingly viewed as ineffective in combating crime. [44] The Guardian Angels, a volunteer patrol group of mostly black and Hispanic teenagers, [45] collected thousands of dollars from subway riders toward a legal defense fund for Goetz. [46] The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a right leaning civil rights organization, supported Goetz. [47] CORE‘s director, Roy Innis, (who would later be elected to the executive board of the NRA [48] [49] ) offered to raise defense money. Innis, who lost two of his sons to inner-city gun violence said Goetz was "the avenger for all of us," and calling for a volunteer force of armed civilians to patrol the streets. [46]

The prior criminal convictions of three of the four men (and the published accounts of such) prevented them from gaining much sympathy from many people. A special hotline set up by police to seek information was swamped by calls supporting the shooter and calling him a hero. [34] [46]

Harvard Professor of Government James Q. Wilson explained the broad sentiment by saying, "It may simply indicate that there are no more liberals on the crime and law-and-order issue in New York City, because they've all been mugged." [46]

Other viewpoints Edit

Some believed the version of the incident as initially told by the four men – that they were merely panhandling with neither intimidation nor threats of violence. This view was later discredited when Darrell Cabey, who had been paralyzed by Goetz's gunshot, admitted during an interview with columnist Jimmy Breslin eleven months after the shooting, that his friends had indeed intended to rob Goetz, who looked like "easy bait". This account was contested in court because Cabey was in the hospital with diminished but improving cognitive capabilities. [50] [51]

Some saw the incident as racial (with Goetz being white and the four young men black), and the jury verdict as a blow to race relations. Benjamin Hooks, director of the NAACP, said "The jury verdict was inexcusable. . It was proven – according to his own statements – that Goetz did the shooting and went far beyond the realm of self-defense. There was no provocation for what he did." Representative Floyd Flake agreed, saying, "I think that if a black had shot four whites, the cry for the death penalty would have been almost automatic." [52] Co-counsel for Cabey C. Vernon Mason, a candidate for district attorney who was later disbarred, said Goetz's actions were racist, [52] as did the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Organized demonstrators accused Goetz of genocide. [53] Goetz's racial language about criminal activity on 14th Street, allegedly made at a community meeting 18 months before the shooting – "The only way we're going to clean up this street is to get rid of the spics and niggers" [10] – was offered as evidence of racial motivation for the shooting. Black political and religious leaders twice called for Federal civil rights investigations. [54]

An investigation by the office of U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani determined that the impetus for the shooting had been fear, not race. [55] In an interview with Stone Phillips of Dateline NBC, Goetz later admitted that his fear was enhanced due to the fact that the attempted muggers were black. [56]

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau asked a grand jury to indict Goetz on four counts of attempted murder, four of assault, four of reckless endangerment, and one of criminal possession of a weapon. [57] Because they would have to be granted immunity from prosecution, neither Goetz nor the four men he shot were called to testify. The 23 jurors heard witnesses, considered the police report of the shooting, and studied transcripts and tapes of the sometimes conflicting statements Goetz made to police in New Hampshire. [5] [58] The jury refused to indict Goetz on the more serious charges, voting indictments only for unlawful gun possession – one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, for carrying in public the loaded unlicensed gun used in the subway shooting, and two counts of possession in the fourth degree, for keeping two other unlicensed handguns in his home. [57] The case was assigned to Judge Stephen Crane.

The shootings initially drew wide support from a public fearful and frustrated with rising crime rates and the state of the criminal justice system. [44] [59] A month after the grand jury's decision, a report summarizing statements Goetz made to police became public, indicating he had fired one shot at each of the four men, then checked their condition, and seeing no blood on the fourth, said "You don't look so bad, here's another" and fired again. [5] The media now wrote of a change in the public mood [60] [61] and demanded that Goetz be tried on the attempted murder and assault charges while suggesting approaches that would allow Morgenthau to convene a new grand jury. [62] Public figures including New York State Governor Mario Cuomo raised questions based on the police summary. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania called for a special prosecutor. [58]

Stating that he had a new witness, Morgenthau obtained Judge Crane's authorization [63] to convene a second grand jury, which heard testimony by Canty and Ramseur and indicted Goetz on charges of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and weapons possession. [64] Judge Crane later granted a motion by Goetz to dismiss the new indictments, based on alleged errors in the prosecutor's instructions to the jury regarding Goetz's defense of justification for the use of deadly force. A second factor in the dismissal was the judge's opinion that Canty and Ramseur "strongly appeared" to have perjured themselves, based on later public statements that they had intended to rob Goetz, [64] [65] and on a newspaper interview where Cabey stated that the other members of the group planned to frighten and rob Goetz because he "looked like easy bait". [66] The judge allowed the weapons possession and reckless endangerment charges to stand. [65]

The New York Court of Appeals, in People v. Goetz, [67] reversed Judge Crane's dismissal, affirming the prosecutor's charge to the grand jury that a defendant's subjective belief that he is in imminent danger does not by itself justify the use of deadly force. The court agreed with the prosecutor that an objective belief, one that would be shared by a hypothetical reasonable person, is also required. The appeals court further held that Judge Crane's opinion that the testimony of Canty and Ramseur was perjurious was speculative and inappropriate. All charges were reinstated, and the case was sent to trial. [21]

Criminal trial Edit

The case was defended by Barry Slotnick and Mark M. Baker. Slotnick argued that Goetz's actions fell within the New York State's self-defense statute. Under Section 35.15, "A person may not use deadly physical force upon another person . unless . He reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit [one of certain enumerated predicate offenses, including robbery]."

Goetz was tried before a Manhattan jury of 10 whites and 2 blacks, of whom 6 had been victims of street crime. [19] [68] He was acquitted of the attempted murder and first-degree assault charges and convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree – carrying a loaded, unlicensed weapon in a public place. [64] He was sentenced to six months in jail, one year's psychiatric treatment, five years' probation, 200 hours community service, and a $5,000 fine. An appellate court affirmed the conviction and changed the sentence to one year in jail without probation. The order of the appellate court was affirmed because the trial court had not erred in instructing the jury that, if it found the People had proved each of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, it "must" find the defendant guilty. This was not a directed verdict. Goetz served eight months.

Civil trial Edit

A month after the shootings, Cabey's lawyers William Kunstler and Ron Kuby filed a civil suit against Goetz. [69] The civil case was tried in 1996, over eleven years later, in the Bronx, with race as the dominant theme. [70] During jury selection, Kuby asked the mostly non-white prospective jurors whether they had ever been discriminated against. Goetz admitted to previous use of racial language and to smoking PCP-laced marijuana during the 1980s. [71] Kuby portrayed Goetz as a racist aggressor Goetz's defense was that when surrounded he reacted in fear of being again robbed and beaten. Newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin testified that in a 1985 interview, Cabey denied his involvement in an attempted robbery, but said that Canty, Allen, and Ramseur intended to rob Goetz. [51] William Kunstler died during the trial.

The jury found that Goetz had acted recklessly and had deliberately inflicted emotional distress on Cabey. Jurors stated that Goetz shooting Cabey twice was a key factor in their decision. [72] The jury awarded Cabey $43 million – $18 million for pain and suffering and $25 million in punitive damages. [72]

Goetz subsequently filed for bankruptcy, saying that legal expenses had left him almost penniless. A judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court ruled that the $43 million jury award could not be discharged by the bankruptcy. [73] Asked in 2004 whether he was making payments on the judgment, Goetz responded "I don't think I've paid a penny on that", and referred any questions on the subject to his attorney. [74]

The New York State legal standard for the self-defense justification use of deadly force shifted after rulings in the case. New York State jurors are now told to consider a defendant's background and to consider whether a hypothetical reasonable person would feel imperiled if that reasonable person were the defendant. [75]

After reaching an all-time peak in 1990, crime in New York City dropped dramatically through the rest of the 1990s. [76] As of 2006 [update] , New York City had statistically become one of the safest large cities in the U.S., with its crime rate being ranked 194th of the 210 American cities with populations over 100,000. New York City crime rates as of 2014 [update] were comparable to those of the early 1960s. [77] [78]

Goetz and others have interpreted the significance of his actions in the subway incident as a contributing factor precipitating the groundswell movement against crime in subsequent years. While that claim is impossible to verify, Goetz achieved celebrity status as a popular cultural symbol of a public disgusted with urban crime and disorder. [79]

Goetz occasionally gives media interviews about the 1984 subway incident that brought him into the public eye. In 2001 he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New York City. In 2004, Goetz was interviewed by Nancy Grace on Larry King Live, where he stated his actions were good for New York City and forced the city to address crime. [74] In 2010 he was interviewed and did a dry fire shooting demonstration on the inaugural episode of The Biography Channel's documentary show Aftermath with William Shatner. [43]

In March 1985 James Ramseur falsely reported to police that two men apparently hired by Goetz kidnapped and attempted to kill him. [80] Goetz was not prosecuted for this hoax. [80] Ramseur was incarcerated at the time of the trial. He was convicted in 1986 of the previous year's rape, sodomizing, and robbery of a young pregnant woman. He was conditionally released in 2002, but was returned to prison for a parole violation in 2005. He finished his sentence in July 2010. In 2011, on the 27th anniversary of the shooting, James Ramseur died from a drug overdose at age 45. [81]

In November 2013 Goetz was arrested for allegedly selling marijuana the charges were dismissed in September 2014. [82]

Goetz and the shooting have endured in popular culture and inspired a number of creative works.


OurBiography

Bernhard Goetz is best known as the “Subway Vigilante” for shooting four teenagers during an attempted mugging in a NYC subway car.

Synopsis

Bernhard Goetz, born November 7, 1947, is best known for his moniker "the Subway Vigilante." Following an assault in 1981, Goetz was infuriated by the lack of prosecution of the three assailants. He decided to start carrying a gun for protection. In 1984, four teenagers approached Goetz again, but this time Goetz shot all four, permanently paralyzing one of them, Darrell Cabey. The case made him a folk he to some New Yorkers who believed his actions were justified. In the criminal trial, Goetz wasꂬquitted of attempted murder, but he was found guilty of illegal firearms possession. Later, the jury in a civil trial awarded�y millions in damages. Goetz then declared bankruptcy.  

Early Life

Infamous New Yorker and folk hero Bernhard Hugo Goetz was born on November 7, 1947, in Queens, New York. The youngest of four children, Goetz was raised largely in upstate New York. His father, a German immigrant, owned a bookbinding business and 300-acre dairy farm. At the age of 12, however, Goetz saw family life take a dramatic turn after his father was arrested on charges of molesting two 15-year-old boys. The elder Goetz pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

To spare him further embarrassment, Bernhard was sent to Switzerland to attend boarding school. He eventually returned to the U.S. and enrolled at New York University, where he earned a degree in electrical and nuclear engineering. By the late 1970s, Goetz owned and operated a small business that specialized in calibrating high-end electronic equipment.

Goetz thrived in a world of machines and precise calculations, but dealing with people was another story. He was dismayed at what he viewed as the crumbling social structure of New York City, and pushed hard for city officials to clean up his neighborhood. Then, in January 1981, he was attacked by three teenagers at a subway station. He was lucky to escape with just a knee injury, but two of the three assailants managed to escape. The other spent just a few hours at a police station. Goetz was furious and, before the year was out, he applied for a gun permit.

Shooting Incident

On December 22, 1984, Goetz entered an empty Manhattan train, carrying an unlicensed .38 caliber revolver. Also on the car were four teenagers: Troy Canty, Barry Allen, Darrell Cabey and James Ramseur. As witness testimony later stated, Goetz had barely taken his seat when the young men approached Goetz for $5. When Goetz refused, Canty responded, "Give me your money."

Suspecting he was being set up for another mugging, Goetz stood up and said, "You all can have it." Goetz started firing his revolver, wounding all four teens. When the train came to a stop, a startled Goetz ran out of the car and eventually fled the city, making his way to Concord, New Hampshire. Eight days after the shooting, Goetz finally turned himself into police.

The New York City that Goetz returned to was a different place than the one he&aposd left. New Yorkers, tired of the crime that had gripped their home, vaulted Goetz to hero status. Joan Rivers sent Goetz a telegram of "love and kisses" and said she would help out with his bail money. T-shirts celebrating Goetz&aposs actions sprang up everywhere. Goetz, who posted his own $50,000 bail, wanted none of it. At least not at first. "I&aposm amazed at this celebrity status," he told the New York Post. "I want to remain anonymous."

Trials and Public Image

In the subsequent criminal trial in 1987, a predominantly white jury in Manhattan acquitted Goetz of attempted murder, but he was found guilty of illegal firearms possession count, for which he served less than a year. Yet pressure to hold the shooter accountable for his actions landed Goetz back in court. This time, though, Goetz refused to stay on the sidelines.

“I wanted to kill those guys. I wanted to maim those guys. I wanted to make them suffer in every way I could…. If I had more bullets, I would have shot them all again and again. My problem was I ran out of bullets.” – Bernhard Goetz

Following the conclusion of his first trial, he&aposd become much more vocal about the problems facing the city. He pushed for all civilians to arm themselves, and told one reporter that Cabey&aposs mother would have been better if she&aposd had an abortion. In 1996, a civil jury in the Bronx found in favor of the plaintiff, and awarded Cabey, who had been paralyzed by the shooting, $43 million in damages. Goetz immediately declared bankruptcy.

As he started to do before his second trial, Goetz embraced celebrity. He appeared in a pair of small films, pushed for the legalization of marijuana, made a run for the mayor&aposs office, made a variety of television and radio appearances and even opened a new store called Vigilante Electronics.

In November 2013, Goetz made headlines again after he was arrested on drug charges. He was taken into custody after selling $30 worth of marijuana to an undercover police officer in New York City. In 2014, those charges were later dropped by a judge who said the prosecutors had taken too long to bring the case to trial.


Contents

Goetz was born on November 7, 1947, to Bernhard Sr. and Gertrude Goetz. His parents were both German American and Lutherans (his mother was originally Jewish, but converted to her husband's faith). Goetz was the youngest of their four children. He and his sister attended a boarding school in Switzerland starting when he was 12. Goetz returned to the U.S. to attend New York University in 1965. He earned a bachelor's degree in both electrical and nuclear engineering. Goetz joined his family when they relocated to Orlando and worked with his father's residential development business. After he was divorced from a brief marriage, Goetz moved to New York City and began an electronics business from his apartment in Greenwich Village.

In 1981, Goetz was allegedly transporting electric equipment when he was attacked by three teenagers during an attempted robbery in the Canal Street subway station. They injured his chest and knee (causing permanent damage to both areas) when he was assisted by an off-duty officer. He helped the officer arrest one of the attackers while the other two escaped. The delinquent was only charged with criminal mischief and spent only half the time Goetz spent in the police station. Enraged, Goetz filed for a permit to carry a concealed firearm (which failed) and later bought a revolver while on a trip in Florida.


Where is Bernhard Goetz now?

Despite Goetz&aposs straight-forward confession, an all-white jury found that the shooter acted in self-defense and found him guilty only of carrying an illegal weapon. He served 250 days in prison.

In 1996, the family of Darrell Cabey, who Goetz paralyzed from the waist down, sued him and won $43 million, but Goetz declared bankruptcy shortly thereafter and according to Newsweek, it&aposs unclear how much Cabey&aposs family was ultimately paid.

These days, Goetz lives in the same building near Union Square where he has lived since the shooting. He ran for mayoral office in 2001, and for public advocate in 2005, and lost both races.

In 2013, he was arrested for selling marijuana to an undercover police officer, but because this man seems to get away with everything, those charges, too, were dropped. Goetz refused the documentary&aposs request to comment, and according to Newsweek, now spends his time as a vegetarian activist, nursing injured squirrels around New York.


Most Read

The case took 212 years to wind through the legal system, as Bernie Goetz meanwhile became a symbol of both the put-upon Everyman defending himself against predators and of armed evil prowling the night for meat. There were those who never conceded that the four youths were bandits. There were those who felt that even if they were, shooting them was perhaps too severe a punishment. There were, of course, even those who contended they had every right to rob him in the first place, considering they were poor and underprivileged.

As all this thoughtful public debate raged on, a Manhattan grand jury declined to indict Goetz for anything but gun possession. An attempted-murder charge was subsequently filed, then thrown out, then refiled a jury finally acquitted him of that charge but found him guilty on a weapons count, for which he ended up serving eight months in prison.

"He's a pathetic man," said jury foreman Michael Axelrod. "His life is ruined."

Barry Allen and James Ramseur both subsequently went to prison on unrelated matters, Ramseur for a brutal rape that sent him up for many years. Troy Canty shortly landed in a drug treatment program. Darryl Cabey had no further brushes with the law, but then, he was in a wheelchair, paralyzed for life.

First published on Nov. 18, 1998 as part of the "Big Town" series on old New York. Find more stories about the city's epic history here.


Did the 1984 New York City Subway Shooter Act Out of Fear or Racial Motivation?

&ldquoI wanted to kill those guys. I wanted to maim those guys," Bernhard Goetz said during his 1984 police interrogation. "I wanted to make them suffer in every way I could. If I had more bullets, I would have shot them all again and again. My problem was I ran out of bullets."

The New York City subway is the veins and arteries of the Big Apple. In 1984, the lifeline of the metropolis came to a halt after five bullets were shot into four black teenagers three days before Christmas on the No. 2 train, fired by the hands of one white man armed with an unlicensed gun.

The subway shooting gained so much steam through the city like a smoldering building on fire as tempers flared with people defending shooter Bernhard Goetz, who says he acted out of fear, while others said it was because of the victims&rsquo race.

Thirty-five years later, the shooting still resonates with New Yorkers as the issues of race, class, fear, and panic continue to converge on a subway car.

&ldquoThis was different in terms of elements you want," former New York Post reporter and author Charlie Carillo told Inside Edition.com. "This had race, this had money, this had fear, this had rage. All the things that are percolating in this city all the time come together in this perfect tabloid story."

The Equalizer

&ldquoYou have all the facts and what you want to do with it but hearing people saying all the time what is right and what is wrong [about] people they don&rsquot even know,&rdquo Goetz said during his 1984 police interrogation.

New York City in the mid-1980s was dirty, dangerous, and dilapidated it was climbing from the wreckage of the financial crisis of the late 1970s. President Ford essentially told the city to &ldquodrop dead&rdquo when officials asked for a bail out.

&ldquoWhen you rode the subways in the 1980s, you kept your eyes open. You didn't bury yourself in a book,&rdquo Carillo said. &ldquoThere was crack cocaine, it was just beginning to come around. Even the police were afraid of people on crack cocaine.&rdquo

The underground labyrinth was and still is the cheapest and fastest way to get around the five boroughs. While the city tried to pick itself up from its bootstraps, straphangers were taking their lives into their hands getting onto the subways.

&ldquoNew York was crime ridden. The subways were full of graffiti," Goetz&rsquos attorney Mark Baker told InsideEdition.com in 2019. "It was very intimidating just to walk onto one of those trains. And it was walking down the street at night was a scary thing to do and so, I would say the general populace was gripped in fear."

&ldquoLike all social services in New York City, like all municipal services throughout this city. the subways sucked. I mean they just did. Everything sucked,&rdquo attorney Ron Kuby told InsideEdition.com. &ldquoBasically, you were trapped in what was essentially, a recycled beer can hurling down the tracks.&rdquo

&ldquoThe subway is the equalizer. It's the only way to get around, and it's always been that way,&rdquo Carillo said. &ldquoWhen you rode the subways in the '80s you would hope for the best, and then you'd have a sense of humor about it.&rdquo

Bernhard "Bernie" Goetz thought of himself as one of those people.

Goetz was a sheepish looking 37-year-old who lived in Union Square in a rent-controlled apartment. His neighborhood was very bohemian, although he didn&rsquot seem to be. He was well-educated and owned and operated a small business where he specialized in calibrating electronics. He was a noted loner, with even his own attorney labeling him &ldquoan average geek.&rdquo

It was in 1981 when Goetz said he was jumped on the subway by three black teenagers who stole his electrical equipment and badly beat him up in the process.

&ldquoHe dutifully reported that to the NYPD and the cops didn't treat that as seriously as he felt it should be treated. And that's when he decided he was going to carry a gun,&rdquo Kuby said.

Soon after his mugging, Goetz applied for a pistol permit, saying he needed it because he carried large amounts of cash, as well as valuable equipment with him to and from his office, but was rejected. Goetz then purchased a .38 Smith & Wesson, but never got it licensed.

&ldquoHe kept that gun with him,&rdquo Kuby added. &ldquoAnd he even said that he would never wear gloves in winter because they might interfere with quick access to his gun. And that's what he did up until the time he met the four men that he gunned down.&rdquo

Dividing the Equalizer

"New York city is a system that knows so much and is so good you decide what you decide what is right and wrong," Goetz said during his 1984 police interrogation.

December 22, 1984, was an unseasonably warm day, with temperatures rising to the 60s. Just before 2 p.m. that day, Goetz entered a subway car heading downtown from Union Square. Four teenagers from the Bronx sat near him.

Darrell Cabey, 19, and James Ramseur, 19, sat next to Goetz. Opposite from him sat Troy Canty, 19, and diagonal from Goetz was Barry Allen, 18. Canty struck up a conversation with Goetz and asked how he was doing that day. Canty and Allen moved to his left and Goetz claims Canty said to Goetz, &ldquogive me $5.&rdquo

Goetz rose from his seat, unzipped his coat and pulled out his gun.

He went into a combat stance, gripped the revolver with both hands like a police officer would in the line of duty, and opened fire. He shot Canty in the center of his midsection. He then turned and shot Allen in the back. He fired his gun again, hitting Ramseur in the arm and chest. He fired a fourth time but missed Cabey who dropped to the ground. Goetz would later say that as Cabey lay on the ground playing possum, he walked over to him and told the teenager, &ldquoyou seem to be doing alright, here is another.&rdquo The shot hit Cabey's spine, paralyzing him from the waist down.

&ldquoIn less time than it takes to pour yourself a glass of water, the whole thing happened,&rdquo Carillo explained.

The train came to a halt when someone pulled the emergency break just before reaching the Chambers Street station. A conductor entered the train car and saw the teens lying on the ground in pools of their own blood. Goetz told the conductor that the teenagers tried to jump him. Goetz then managed to slip out of the car and into the dark subway tunnels.

By the time the ambulances arrived, Cabey already suffered permanent brain damage from oxygen deprivation to the brain and was paralyzed from the waist down. Recovery from his injuries was not possible and to this day, he operates at the intellectual level of an 8-year-old, according to Kuby, who represented Cabey in a civil trial against Goetz.

&ldquoBernhard Goetz was a guy who was looking for this moment to vindicate a past trauma, and he decided to play that out on that train that day," Kuby said.

Goetz's attorney has a different outlook on the event.

&ldquoWe take no glee in [what happened to Cabey],&rdquo Goetz's attorney said to InsideEdition.com. "It's a horrible fate, and Mr. Goetz took no glee in that, but it was him or them as he felt at the time, and he did what he had to do."

That night, Goetz returned to his apartment, changed his clothes, rented a car and for reasons unknown headed to New England, where he would disassemble his pistol and take refuge in Concord, New Hampshire, in hopes that what just occurred would blow over.

&ldquoPeople are looking for a hero or they are looking for a villain,&rdquo Goetz told authorities during his 1984 interrogation.

News quickly spread that a &ldquosubway vigilante&rdquo was on the run. The shooter was nowhere to be found, nothing was known about him and there were four teens who had been wounded from his bullets.

&ldquoTheir lives changed forever on that day," Carillo said. "They were never going to have any kind of a normal life."

Receiving as much attention as the shooting, were the alleged past actions of the four teens who were shot. Reports quickly circulated that the teens had prior arrests and that cops had found screwdrivers on three of the victims. The teens were reportedly going use them to rob a video arcade, according to a report. None of those screwdrivers were drawn during the Goetz shooting.

Sketches of the shooter were circulated and it became national news.

Goetz turned himself into authorities on New Year&rsquos Eve in New Hampshire. Detectives in New York City were notified and went to New Hampshire, where Goetz confessed to what he did.

&ldquoHe sat down, they got the camera running, and it just flooded out of him," Carillo said. "And he couldn't lie. He had to talk about how he felt. [He said] &lsquoI wish I'd had more bullets,&rsquo I mean, this was a guy really on the edge, or over the edge."

He told police he didn&rsquot like the way Canty looked at him, saying that there was a &ldquoshiny&rdquo look in his eyes, as if he was being mocked, and at that point, Goetz believed he had no choice but to open fire.

&ldquoFor combat, you have to be cold-blooded and I was. And it was at that point I decided to kill them after all, murder them all, do anything,&rdquo Goetz said during the recorded interview with authorities.

He was brought back to Manhattan where he was arraigned on charges of illegal gun possession and attempted murder. His bail was initially set at $50,000, later reduced to $5,000, and he was put into protective custody on Rikers Island. He posted his own bail and returned home five days later. He then became the most intriguing man in the country.

As the case moved forward, news about Goetz began to come out, including an incident at a 1980 community meeting where he used racist slurs while complaining about Latinos and black citizens.

&ldquoBernhard Goetz was every white guy, whoever felt frightened by black people in New York, ever,&rdquo Kuby said.

His actions on the train divided the city, with those fed up with the crime ravaging New York calling him a hero and others saying he was a racist who needed an excuse to shoot a person a color.

His attorney said his client acted out of fear and the shooting was never racially motivated.

&ldquoHe felt they were going to beat him up. He did what he felt he had to do at that time,&rdquo Baker said. &ldquoWe discounted this, him having a racial connotation to it. I don't think if these kids were black, brown, yellow, purple, he would have acted any differently. He believed, and the jury accepted that belief, that he was about to be beaten up.&rdquo

But current New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who grew up in Brooklyn and was eight when the shooting occurred, tells InsideEdition.com, &ldquoIt&rsquos hard to take race out of incidents like this.&rdquo

&ldquoBut the question is, if it was four young white men, would it have the same result given even the same circumstances?" Williams added. "And it's hard to think that it would have, particularly with the venom afterwards. And so it shouldn't occur. And there was language that, &lsquoI wished I [hadn't] ran out of bullets. I wished I had done more harm. That kind of venom and that kind of energy generally comes when there are more melanated people involved.&rdquo

As Goetz awaited trial, the city&rsquos divide on if what Goetz did was right, wrong, racially motivated, or if he acted out of fear intensified by the day.

&ldquoIt was the argument in every bar, in every restaurant, in every office. It was the water cooler argument,&rdquo Carillo added.

A popular female comedienne even offered to help pay for Goetz's bail. A New York Times poll after the shootings and found that 52% of New Yorkers believed the shootings was justified. Of those who felt it was justified, 56% were white and 45% were black.

In the spring of 1985, Goetz&rsquos trial began. As it did, so did the demonstrations outside court both for and against Goetz.

&ldquoThe onslaught of the media was oppressive,&rdquo Baker recalled. &ldquoWe were photographed going to the men's room. I mean, it became somewhat overbearing on a daily basis."

In 1987, a predominantly white jury acquitted Goetz of attempted murder, but found him guilty of illegal firearms possession. He served 250 days in prison.

The verdict was as polarizing as the incident.

&ldquoI was waiting for the city to explode when the only thing Goetz was convicted on, was the weapons possession charge. I thought that was unbelievable,&rdquo Carillo said.

&ldquoHe got the sentence that's required for the conviction of that offense," Baker said. "The jury heard the facts. Everybody's got opinions in a case like this, but unless you're in the courtroom for seven weeks, and you hear the evidence from the witness stand, and you see the demonstrations in the well of the courtroom, and you go out into that subway, which the jury did, in that confined space, walking around, imagining themselves in Bernie Goetz's position, you don't have a right to an opinion in my view."

For some people of color, the verdict was proof of what many suspected to be true about the American criminal justice system.

&ldquoI think the value of black life is not that high in American society,&rdquo Williams said. &ldquoThat's something that we have to grapple with, and it's something that we have to understand why, and it goes way back. And, I often ask folks, because people who think will say, &lsquoOh, that's in the past,&rsquo I'm like, &lsquoAt what point in history did we ever catch up?&rsquo&rdquo

The Imperfect Balance

&ldquoI don&rsquot regret pulling the trigger,&rdquo Goetz told Larry King in 2004, &ldquoI guess feeling guilty is not one of my strong points.&rdquo

After his trial, Goetz did everything but go away from the spotlight. He went on many local and national news outlets to vent about what he called the issues in New York City, he urged his fellow citizens to arm themselves, and when he was asked about what he had done in 1984, he said he had no regrets.

&ldquoI wouldn't expect him to feel remorse. Goetz is proud of what he did. Goetz was looking forward to doing it, he was glad that he did it,&rdquo Kuby said.

For Williams, he believes it is "very telling" that Goetz does not regret what he did.

&ldquoYou tried to kill four human beings," Williams said. "If you don't feel any remorse for that, especially so far removed, there should be something that's saying those lives are worth something, especially that young man that was paralyzed."

In 1996, Cabey's mother, Shirley, took Goetz to court in a civil lawsuit. Kuby, who represented the Cabeys, said said he need only use Goetz&rsquos own words against him when he took the stand.

&ldquoSo amidst the mass of evidence that I had at my disposal, I made a very conscious decision that I was going to try this case almost exclusively with Goetz's own words,&rdquo Kuby said. &ldquoAnd if there was going to be a finding of liability made against Bernard Goetz, it was going to be because of his own filthy, vile, racist mouth. So I had every statement he ever made. I had every television transcript of every crazy interview that he had given.&rdquo

Included in the statements presented were Goetz's comment that Cabey&rsquos mother would have been better off if she had an abortion.

A jury awarded $18 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages. Goetz immediately declared bankruptcy. Cabey has never been able to collect any of the damages awarded to him and he continues to live in a vegetative state.

As for the other three victims, each faced various troubles in the aftermath of the shooting.

Troy Canty faced a stint in rehab and was arrested for shoplifting in 1990. He was sentenced to probation. InsideEdition.com's attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Barry Allen was arrested and convicted for robbery in 1991. In 1995, he was placed on a conditional release to parole. His current whereabouts are unknown.

During the Goetz trial, James Ramseur was convicted of raping, sodomizing and robbing a pregnant woman in 1986. He was conditionally released in 2002 and returned to prison in 2005 on a parole violation. He was released again in 2010. On the 27th anniversary of the shooting, Ramseur was found dead in his apartment. He suffered a fatal drug overdose in a possible suicide. He was 45.

Goetz still remains a polarizing figure. In 2001, he ran for mayor of New York City, but lost. In 2005, he ran for public advocate and lost again. "That's funny," Williams, the current public advocate for New York City, said of Goetz's boldness to run for the seat he currently holds.

Goetz continued to make headlines. In 2013, he was arrested for selling marijuana to an undercover cop, though the charges he faced were dropped a year later. When Inside Edition tried to speak to Goetz in 2013, he said what he did was &ldquono big deal."