By Thomas Tracy
Extra staff will be on hand at a Starrett City junior high school this week as children return from vacation and learn that longtime secretary Barbara Sheehan has been arrested for gunning down her husband – a retired cop. Sheehan, a resident of Queens, was charged with murder in the second degree after she admitted that she shot her spouse dead inside their Howard Beach home. The shooting brought a violent end to untold years of abuse the mother of two faced reportedly at the hands of her husband, her attorney Douglas Dollinger said, explaining that at her arraignment that the killing was part of “a domestic incident where the decedent was, in fact, the aggressor.” Sheehan had worked at I.S. 364, located at 1426 Freeport Loop, for years. Since she had close ties to school staffers, students and parents, city Department of Education (DOE) officials said last week that they were going to supply some extra staff to handle questions and concerns about her arrest. “I.S. 364 will have extra counselors on hand to help support the school community when they return from school break,” a DOE spokesman to a query from this paper. Calls to the school or the District Family Advocate were not returned as this paper went to press. The school had been closed between February 18 and February 22 for winter vacation. The afternoon the vacation started cops responded to Sheehan’s home to investigate a domestic incident. When they arrived, they found former NYPD Sergeant Ray Sheehan dead in the bathroom. He had been shot multiple times. An autopsy would later prove that the bullets — eleven in all — had ripped through the cop’s lungs, liver, stomach, intestines, spine and heart. He died at the scene. Sheehan, according to investigators, reportedly shot her husband in the back with two of his own guns as he shaved. The 49-year-old had retired from the NYPD’s Evidence Collection unit in 2002. Friends said he was very active at Our Lady of Grace School in Queens, where the couple’s children attended. According to a complaint filed with the Queens District Attorney’s office, Sheehan shot her husband at about 12:15 p.m. When cops responded, she immediately admitted her guilt, allegedly claiming, “I shot him! I shot him! I think he’s dead. He’s in the bathroom,” court records show. Although Sheehan had never filed any domestic violence complaints against her husband, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown called the killing “a terribly sad and tragic case of apparent marital discord.” “[The killing] has left two children to grapple with the fact that not only did their father’s life end in violence but that their mother has been charged in his death,” he said in a statement. Family members claimed that Sheehan had gone to the hospital the Sunday before the shooting after her husband had punched her in the face and broke her nose. DOE officials said that Sheehan has been fired from her $44,551 job at I.S. 364. A school source told the Daily News that Sheehan’s attendance at the Starrett City school was good and that she never came to work with bruises or any other signs of abuse. It was unclear as this paper went to press if the school was going to use this sad incident to discuss the perils of domestic abuse.