On Christmas Eve in 1984 Bernhard Goetz leave Subway his apartment in Greenwich Village in Manhattan and went to the IRT station in a corner of 14 street and 7 Avenue. It was a thin blond hair man in glasses worn in simple jacket and jeans. Coming down to a station, he got into a subway car going downtown. There were approximately twenty people sitting on one side, staying away from four young hooligans. Bernhard denied this fact and sat down near black boys.
«Mister, can I have five dollars?» — asked two of teenagers. Goetz responded: «You can all have it!»
Third boy – Ramseur made it clear that he had a gun in his pocket.
«His eyes were shining, he was fun and smiling. This fact made me anger and shocked… So I put out my five-shot Smith` n` Wesson and fired them…» — Goetz will say later in a court.
When Darrell Cabey ( the fourth member of the band ) were laying on the floor Goetz shot him in a spine making him paralysed for the rest of his life.
During this fight, someone triggered the emergency brake before the next station. The others ran away to another waggon exсept of two women gripped by panic. «Are you okey? » — very politely asked shooter one of the ladies. “Yes» — she said. The second woman was laying on the floor very quiet trying to pretend she died.
The conductor asked Goetz whether he was a policeman. He responded in the negative and added after a short pause: «I don`t know why I did this… They tried to rob me. »
Conductor asked perpetrator to give him a gun but Bernhard refused to do so and went to wagon door. In a minute Goetz unbuckled the safety chain, jumped on the rails and disappeared in a darkness of the tunnel. Next week, the shooting on IRT station became the nationwide sensation. All of four boys had a criminal past: earlier Darrell Cabey was incarcerated for an armed attack, Troy Canty – for robbery. In their pockets were founding two screwdrivers and the knife. They seemed like the epitome of young criminals scaring everyone who lived in New York in 70-80`s. The mysterious shooter became an angel of retribution for all townspeople and tabloids had dubbed him a «subway avenger«.
Goetz became an idol who made everyone who had been robbed, offended or beaten on a New York`s subway station believe in.
He surrendered voluntarily to New Hampshire police station on New Year`s Eve. Bernhard had been acquitted when his case went to a Bronx civil trial. The cheering crowd met him like a hero in front of his flat door!
«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 through 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
The Goetz`s case became the symbol of the dark period in New York history. It was a time when the crime problem had reached epidemic proportions. In 1980`s has been committed more than 2 000 murders and 600 particularly serious crimes in a year. The situation on a subway was catastrophic. On average, on a week two trains went off the rails and every single day was a fire in 80`s.
Photos of the crime scene, taken from the police report, showed us a dirty subway car covering with graffiti and obscene notes. But it wasn`t unusual. All of 6 000 waggons in a city was decorated with graffiti inside and outside, from top to bottom.
There were cold in winter and hot in summer. The incidents of stowaways were so ordinary that it brought a loss of $ 150 million every year for Transport Department. On subway stations had been committed more than 15 000 crimes every year in the beginning of 80`s. The number of attacks and beggars had risen to the end of the decade so much that passenger traffic fell for a lower level in a history of the subway.