Marshal wounds kid when he reportedly mistakes candy bar for gun

November 4, 1997
Marshal wounds kid when he reportedly mistakes candy bar for gun
Chris Olert, Associated Press

NEW YORK - A federal marshal shot a teenager walking down the street eating a Three Musketeers candy bar after reportedly mistaking the silver wrapper for a gun.

Andre Burgess, a high school soccer star, was in fair condition with a leg wound Saturday at Jamaica Hospital.

"It's sick," Burgess, 17, said from his hospital bed. "You can't even walk down the street and eat a candy bar anymore."

The Queens district attorney and the U.S. Marshals Service are investigating the shooting, representatives of each agency said on Saturday.

"This whole thing happened without a provocation," said Burgess' lawyer, David Godosky. "Mr. Burgess is totally a victim in this case."

Deputy U.S. Marshal William Cannon, a five-year veteran assigned to the Newark, N.J., office, was put on leave with pay after the shooting, marshal Service spokesman Dave Branham said Saturday in an interview from Washington. The Marshals Service wouldn't discuss other details.

Published reports said Cannon was part of a federal task force hunting for a fugitive from a 1982 shooting of a customs agent when the teenager passed by the investigators Thursday night.

Burgess walked past the marshal's car with the candy bar in his hands, and Cannon shot him once in the leg, believing the teenager was carrying a weapon, according to published reports.

"He didn't give me a chance to react," Burgess said. "I turned to see what was up, and boom, I'm hit and fell to the ground."

Burgess claimed the marshals left him handcuffed on the ground bleeding after the shooting.

'I'm laying there bleeding, waiting to go to the hospital, and he's shaking hands with the other cops, or agents, who whatever they were," Burgess told the New York Times.

Burgess, the goalkeeper of the Hillcrest High School soccer team, is worried that the injury may affect his chance to play in college. The shooting has already knocked him out of the playoffs.

His coach, Howard Warhaftig, said it would "be nice if they said they were sorry."