July 26, 2002 – Sen. Emmett Hansen II narrowly escaped two gunshots fired by a man involved in a barroom fight in Christiansted around midnight Thursday.
No one was hurt and the gunman was arrested by a police officer who happened to walk into the establishment looking to have dinner.
Hansen said he used training from his days as a deputy sheriff to deal with the situation when the assailant pulled a gun on another man in the East Bound Sports Bar and Restaurant. Police said the intended victim had been shot by a friend of the gunman in a previous incident.
"I was standing by the pool table with a couple of friends, and two young men started fighting and they were right at my feet and I was pinned against a table," Hansen told Isle 95 radio on Friday. "So, I reacted and grabbed the one who was on top and moved him."
Then, he continued, "When I glanced behind me, the gentleman who got up off the ground drew a gun. I was able to move out of the way just as he discharged two shots."
According to police reports, Mervyn Tang-Yuk was socializing at the bar a few minutes after midnight when we was confronted by Darren Henry. Tang-Yuk "was upset because in a previous incident he had been shot by Mr. Henry's friend," Deputy Police Chief Angel Santos said, and "Tang-Yuk rushed this individual and they started to fight."
Santos said that when Hansen tried to break up the fight, Henry drew a gun from the waistband of his pants and opened fire. "The senator immediately jumped out of the way to avoid being shot and also placed his hand over the slide of the weapon that the suspect had in his hand and tried to hold him at the same time," the deputy chief said.
When the officer who happened on the scene came through the door of the bar, he drew his service weapon and ordered Henry to drop his gun. Henry was arrested on the spot, Santos said, and was charged with reckless endangerment and assault.
Hansen, a first-term senator, was philosophical on Friday about the ordeal. He told Isle 95 he was "just fortunate enough" that he had worked at one time as a deputy sheriff, and so "I knew what to do."
But he also said he was angry that street crime involving weapons continues unabated despite passage by the current Legislature of a measure toughening penalties for gun-related crime, a bill that he introduced and fought to have approved.
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