Federal prosecutors will not investigate the subway shootings of four men by Bernhard Goetz, U.S. Atty. Rudolph W. Giuliani said today.
Giuliani said in a statement that his staff "has determined that federal civil rights laws do not provide a basis" for a new probe of the shootings.
He said Goetz appeared to have been acting out of the belief--justified or not--that he was in imminent danger, not out of racial prejudice. Goetz is white; the four men he shot are black.
Even if Goetz had been motivated by racial prejudice, Giuliani said, it would not have warranted a federal prosecution.
Further Evidence Needed
Instead, the prosecutor said, there would have to be evidence that Goetz was part of a conspiracy, that he was acting in the role of a public official or that he was trying to stop his victims from using the subway, which would constitute interference with a federally funded activity.
Goetz has said he shot the four teen-agers when they asked him for $5. He said he believed he was being robbed, although two of the four were shot as they fled.
One of the youths remains hospitalized in a semi-coma.
Goetz surrendered on New Year's Eve and was charged with attempted murder. But on Jan. 25, a grand jury refused to indict him in the shootings, charging him only with illegal weapons possession.