BOSTON (CBS) – On Saturday night, 48 Hours will take an in depth look at an Easton couple’s crusade to clear their son’s name.

In 2010, a New York police officer shot and killed DJ Henry, saying the college student’s actions left him with no choice. But friends and witnesses tell a different story.

Henry was junior at Pace University, and a universally liked football player. In the early morning hours of October 17, 2010, his parents got a phone call telling them DJ was shot to death in his car.

DJ Henry, a Pace University student from Easton killed by police in 2010 (WBZ-TV)

DJ was out celebrating with his teammates, when other people at the bar they were at got into a fight.

Police say DJ was parked in a fire lane in front of the bar, and when an officer asked him to move, he sped towards an officer, propelling the officer onto the hood of his car.

Officer Aaron Hess then fired shots into the front windshield, hitting Henry several times.

48 Hours’ James Brown told WBZ’s Paula Ebben, Hess made it clear that he fired intentionally, fearing for his life.

Angella and Dan Henry (Image credit 48 Hours)

But DJ’s parents say that just doesn’t make sense to them. Dan Henry said, “Something had to have happened if that happened. What caused him to do something that’s so outside of his character?”

Desmond Hinds, one of DJ’s friends who was in the car that night, says the shooting was unprovoked, saying it felt like the “Wild West.”

Despite the conflicting stories about what happened, Officer Hess was cleared of any wrongdoing. That decision is what led the Henry’s to search for the answers on their own.

Dan Henry said, “We’re not anti-police. We’re just trying to understand what the facts tell us. Was it a justified shooting or was it not justified? Because if it wasn’t, it was murder”.

You can watch the 48 Hours report, Defending DJ, Saturday night at 10pm on WBZ.

Comments (2)
  1. Rita Havel Foran says:

    If the car was speeding, how was Officer Hess able to steady himself enough to shoot when he was on the hood of the car? Wasn’t he holding on in order not to fall off?

  2. Jim Fath says:

    My wife and I watched this episode this past weekend. What really bothered me was it felt completely sanitized and didn’t talk about certain things when dealing with the situation as they popped up.

    How did the axle break on his car if it wasn’t speeding away as they said it wasn’t? What caused the extensive damage?

    Who was the officer that waived him along initially?

    what was the extent of the officers injuries? Were they superficial? They said he was in the hospital recovering? For how long and from what exactly? Was that a smoke screen or was he seriously injured?

    What I came away with was a suspicion that the officer SEVERELY over reacted to a fleeing car and fired at it recklessly and needlessly. Instead of going into this story with rationality and eyes wide open, the whole thing felt really phony. The last straw for me was when the lawyer pulled the cover off the car in his driveway. And all they wanted to talk about was the bullet holes when the tire and front end were hanging off. The whole story was not being told and I hate that sort of patronizing bs.

    The kid might have made a mistake but it shouldn’t have cost him his life. That was an important point the episode could have and arguably should have made. Instead it just acted like some cop randomly jumped on the hood of a car going less than a mile an hour and blasted two kids.

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