New York City police officers shot and killed an unarmed black man on the street, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn around 430pm on Wednesday. The man, who neighbors said had a history of mental illness, allegedly pointed a metal object at the cops who believed it was a gun. It was later discovered that the metal object was a metal pipe with a knob on it.
The police killing of the emotionally disturbed man drew a large crowd to the area that began to verbally confront the police on scene. The man was known to the police officers in the area and was classified as mentally disturbed by the police department.
The initial officers on the scene consisted of three cops in street clothes and two others in uniform. They were responding to various 911 calls about a man menacing passerbys with a silver gun. The police department issued a statement saying a woman was frantically reporting that a man was pointing a gun at people.
Terrence Monahan, a police chief with the NYPD said, “The suspect took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed an object at the approaching officers.” Monahan said four of his officers fired a total of 10 bullets at the unarmed man, Saheed Vassell, who was 34. According to the victim’s father, Vassell was pronounced dead at Kings County Medical Center.
During an interview, the victim’s father Eric Vassell, said his son had a history of bipolar disorder and was admitted to the hospital numerous times in recent years; several coming after encounters with the police. The younger Mr. Vassell, was the father of a 15-year-old son.