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Police Forced to Shoot Mentally Ill Man Who Stabbed Officer

Police Forced to Shoot Mentally Ill Man Who Stabbed Officer

Neighbors watch a police sniper during the standoff. Courtesy: Washington Post | Associated Press

Washington Post via YellowBrix

June 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – A man who reportedly had a history of mental-health issues was fatally shot by D.C. police Tuesday after he stabbed one officer, barricaded himself in his Northwest Washington residence and later lunged at other officers, authorities said.

D.C. police Cmdr. Hilton Burton, head of the special operations division, said police were called about 1:30 p.m. to assist city mental-health workers so they could take the man to a facility.

The man, whose name has not been released, was described as about 55. He lived in the apartment to which police were called, in the 1600 block of Irving Street NW, in the heart of the Mount Pleasant neighborhood.

Armed with “sharpened objects” that police believed to be filed-down screwdrivers, the man attacked officers as they went to the door of the apartment and an officer was stabbed in the arm, Burton said. The officers and mental-health professionals then left the apartment, and officials declared a barricade situation and called in the Emergency Response Team.

Team members started to negotiate with the man about 3:30 p.m., but he would not come out, Burton said. About two hours later, members of the team entered the apartment and tried to take him into custody, believing that the man was passed out or asleep.

The man then woke up and lunged at officers with the sharpened objects, Burton said.

“Officers fearing their safety . . . had to use deadly force,” Burton said. The man’s mental condition was taken into account before the entry, he added.

“We tried to talk him out. We tried to wait him out,” Burton said.

The man, who was struck in the upper body, was transported to Howard University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The officer who was stabbed was treated at a hospital and released.

D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump declined to say how District police are trained to deal with people who may have mental-health issues. The shooting remains under investigation, she said.

Crump said that the shooting was the fourth fatal shooting this year involving D.C. police and that there were none last year.

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