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Subject: [Hangout-NYLXS] Brooklyn Principal Shot to Death While Looking for
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Brooklyn Principal Shot to Death While Looking for Missing Pupil
By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
Published: December 18, 1992
The principal of a grade school in one of Brooklyn's toughest
neighborhoods, a dedicated, gentle man who often took children by the
hand through streets ruled by violence, was shot and killed yesterday as
he searched for a missing pupil in a crime-ridden housing project. The
authorities said they believed he was caught in a crossfire between drug
The victim, Patrick Daly, the 48-year-old principal of Public School 15
at 71 Sullivan Street in the notorious Red Hook waterfront district,
whose quiet 26-year struggle on behalf of his pupils had been featured
in news articles and on national television, was out looking for a
fourth-grade boy who had left school in tears earlier after a fight with
Mr. Daly was walking on a rain-slickened mall of barren concrete and
grassy plots, surrounded by the dreary, red-brick sprawl of the Red Hook
Houses, when the gunfire crackled shortly before noon, the authorities
said. He fell to the pavement, shot once in the chest by a 9-millimeter
slug. 'He Said, "Thank You" '
In a neighborhood that saw 20 murders, 10 rapes, 526 robberies and 364
assaults last year, the sound of gunfire was not extraordinary. The
killers -- two or three men, probably on a drug-related vendetta --
fled. Some residents heard eight or nine shots, and Edgardo Torres, 31,
a former Marine and police officer, ran out and tried to give
Mr. Daly was bleeding profusely, and Mr. Torres tore off his own T-shirt
and stuck it in the wound on the right side of Mr. Daly's chest. But it
"I asked him not to give up," Mr. Torres said. "I told him he had to
breathe, and he said, 'Thank you,' before he passed away."
Someone called an ambulance and Mr. Daly was taken to Long Island
College Hospital. Doctors tried to revive him, but he was pronounced
dead at 12:10 P.M. 'Man Who Loved the Children'
The slaying, in a neighborhood where only the brave or the foolish stand
up to the overwhelming odds of drugs, guns and misery, brought
expressions of outrage from city, education and teachers' union
officials and sent tremors through the school and the community where
Mr. Daly spent his whole career and was widely admired.
"I remember a kind man who loved the children of the community, who
loved the families and never feared the elements here in Red Hook," said
Lillian Lopez, whose two children attended P.S. 15. "He would often walk
children home from school if the child wasn't feeling well or there was
no phone at home."
Distraught children, teachers and other staff members at P.S. 15
yesterday mingled sobs with praise for a principal who had not only
raised the academic sights and achievements of the 685 pupils from
pre-kindergarten through the sixth grade, but had also raised the
self-esteem of thousands of children.
"He was nice to us," said Andrea Dowing, a third grader. "He wanted me
to do things, I would do it. I would type for him when he wanted me to."
Andrea's grandmother, Armaza Dowing, said: "She used to say: 'Hurry,
Grandma. I want to go to school and be with Mr. Daly."
Others recalled a principal who knew every pupil in his school, who
eschewed public speeches for quiet conversations, who was the first to
arrive and last to leave each day, who could soothe injured feelings and
dispel hopelessness, and whose often-stated goal was to help children
find "inner peace."
In an interview with NBC News last year, Mr. Daly told of the challenges
and of his vision. "We're dealing with some kids that don't have that
inner peace, kids who fight wars within themselves, and they come to
school and they don't know how to direct that anger," he said. But he
added that he had seen some of them go on to college. "They're coming
from Red Hook and they're overcoming the odds."
Mayor David N. Dinkins, who went to the hospital with police and
education officials, praised Mr. Daly. "He recognized that this
youngster needed attention and he went to give it," the Mayor said. "And
tragedy of tragedies, he got caught in the crossfire."
Joseph A. Fernandez, Chancellor of the New York City school system,
called Mr. Daly "one of those principals who went the extra mile for
everybody" and said, "Everyone who knew him really admired him,
respected him and loved him."
Like Mayor Dinkins, who noted that the police confiscate 19,000 guns
every year, Mr. Fernandez said it was one more reason to get guns off
In a separate statement, Sandra Feldman, president of the United
Federation of Teachers, said that little more than three months into the
school year there had been 29 gun incidents in and around public
schools, and in 9 of them, a total of 12 people had been shot, including
"The use of guns in and around schools is becoming a national plague,"
Ms. Feldman said. She said that President-elect Bill Clinton "is deeply
concerned about such violence around schools," and that the American
Federation of Teachers would "seek Federal help that will protect our
schoolchildren and our faculties." 'A Model Principal'
(Page 2 of 2)
James S. Vlasto, a spokesman for the Board of Education, responding to
Ms. Feldman, noted that Mr. Daly was caught in a crossfire several
blocks from his school. "It was a tragedy, but it was not on school
grounds, not an incident that should be considered when we are talking
about school safety," he said.
Donald Singer, president of the Council of Supervisors and
Administrators, the union to which Mr. Daly belonged, called the victim
"a model principal" who, with his school, had recently been chosen to
work with James Comer, a nationally known psychiatrist and Yale
University expert on school reform, in a program to raise community
Mr. Daly, a slender man with a salt-and-pepper beard, lived on Staten
Island, was married and had two daughters and a son. He spent his career
at P.S. 15, starting as an assistant teacher in 1966 and becoming a
teacher in 1968, assistant principal in 1974 and principal in January
1986. He was not a deskbound man.
"He was known by everyone, by generations of people in Red Hook," said
William Casey, the superintendent of District 15, which includes P.S.
15. "The irony of all this is that Pat was frequently seen in the
streets of Red Hook, concerned about the safety of these youngsters."
The events that led to his death, those who knew him said, were typical
of his concern for the safety of his pupils. Police Commissioner Raymond
W. Kelly said there had been a fight yesterday morning between two
fourth graders at the school. One of the boys left the school in the
Mr. Daly, whose policy was to never let a pupil leave unescorted, even
if that meant personally taking youngsters home when there was no one to
pick them up, learned of the fight and of the boy's departure and went
to find him.
Victoria Carter, 33, a secretary at the South Brooklyn Health Center, a
clinic nearby, who knew Mr. Daly as her teacher years ago and as a
familiar figure in the area, saw him headed east on Sullivan Street. "He
was walking with that spring in his step that he always had," she said.
He walked three blocks to the boy's home in the Red Hook Houses. Home to
It is a hard place to grow up: a collection of red-brick buildings, home
to 8,000 people, the city's largest public housing project, the nation's
second largest. But it looks more like a prison, with buildings of 4 to
12 stories jutting up around a mall of concrete and hard-packed grass a
few blocks from the waterfront.
Mr. Daly, the police said, did not find the boy at home and went out
onto the grounds to search for him.
The police, residents and social service officials told yesterday of a
drug war that has plagued the Red Hook Houses recently. "Every night you
hear shooting," said Hassan Alaur. "It's like Vietnam here." .
It happened at 11:45 A.M.
"First I heard shots, then I saw two guys running, both of them
shooting," said Ty McNair, a 20-year-old resident. She thought they were
drug dealers. "Then I heard somebody say somebody got hit. I saw an old
man lying on the ground with blood on his stomach. Another man was
there, giving him mouth-to-mouth."
The police said that 9-millimeter shell casings were found on the
project grounds and that their positions appeared to indicate they they
had been fired by at least two different people across the spot where
Mr. Daly was hit. The police said they were searching for two or three
suspects. Nine-millimeter handguns, which fire up to 15 rounds rapidly,
are often the weapon of choice for drug dealers.
As word spread through the neighborhood that Mr. Daly had been killed,
William Green, an administrator at the South Brooklyn Health Center, and
some of his friends took a walk through the projects.
"You could feel the grief," he said. "People were breaking down and
crying, losing control."
A crisis intervention team was sent to the school to help children and
their families cope with the loss. Standing outside the school in a
steady rain, one of the teachers, Kathleen Leonard, spoke of a
neighborhood's grief. "There is total horror, unbelief, shock and
sadness," she said.
But she added, there was also joy in having known Mr. Daly.
Photos: Police officers at the housing project in Red Hook where Mr.
Daly was slain in an apparent crossfire. (Edward Keating/The New York
Times); Patrick Daly, principal of Public School 15 in Brooklyn, at back
of a school assembly videotaped last year for a television news profile.
(NBC News) (pg. A1); Wanda Heglar crying as she picked up her son Dantee
at Public School 15 in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn after hearing of
the shooting death of the school's principal, Patrick Daly. (Associated
Press) (pg. B12) Graphs: "CRIME: Red Hook Shooting" shows the total
number of incidents and the total number of felonies from 1990-1992 in
the Red Hook housing project in Brooklyn. (Source: New York Police
Department) (pg. B12) Map of Brooklyn showing the site of slaying in the
Red Hook housing project. (pg. B12)
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town
that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
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