Published January 25, 2007
NEW YORK – Wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with his slain friend's name, a survivor of a fatal 50-shot police fusillade vowed to hold officers accountable for opening fire on the unarmed men.
"We didn't even have a pair of scissors in the car," Joseph Guzman said shortly after he was released from a hospital. "I don't know what started this. We did nothing ... I don't want them to get away with this."
Still in a wheelchair after treatment for 16 bullet wounds, Guzman recalled the final moments of the bachelor party that turned tragic after police fatally shot Sean Bell, 23, in the early morning hours of Nov. 25. Bell was killed hours before he was to marry his high-school sweetheart.
He said police opened fire without a word or a warning outside the Kalua Cabaret strip club.
Guzman's release Wednesday came as a Queens grand jury heard testimony on the shooting, which has sparked community outrage and put police tactics and motives under a microscope.
Police have said the officers believed one of the men in Bell's group was retrieving a gun, but no weapon was found.
Guzman stressed that he and his friends were unarmed.
The grand jury investigation is expected to continue for a month or more before the officers learn whether they will face criminal charges. All have been put on paid leave.
Guzman, 31, who was hospitalized for the past two months, said he suffered nerve damage in his right foot and had a steel rod implanted to buttress his left leg.