MESQUITE, Texas (AP) — Police in a Dallas suburb fatally shot a 27-year-old man who they said ran toward officers with a knife and club, although his family said he was carrying a walking stick and had a history of mental illness.
Officers were dispatched Tuesday morning to an apartment building in Mesquite after receiving a 911 call on which a woman could be heard screaming and crying, according to a statement from the city police department.
At the apartments, police were told that Ashton Pinke was armed with a knife, according to the statement. When police found Pinke by the side of the building he “charged at officers, armed with a knife and a club” and they shot him, police said.
Pinke was later pronounced dead at a hospital, police said. The officers were not injured.
Pinke’s family questioned whether he had a knife in his hand when he was shot and why the officers didn’t try to deescalate the situation. They called on police to release body camera footage of the shooting, which the department said it will do later this week.
“Why was deadly force used instead of the theories, the methodologies that we know are effective when dealing with people with mental illness?” Precious Wafer, Pinke’s aunt, told KDFW-TV.
A shaky cellphone video obtained by the broadcaster shows the seconds before the shooting. On it, two police officers are shown with their guns drawn, yelling “don’t do it” and “hands up.” A man can then be seen rounding the corner of the apartment building, shots ring out and the video ends.
Police said the officers who shot Pinke both have more than 20 years of experience. They’ve been placed on paid leave while the shooting is investigated by the department and Dallas County prosecutors.
An attorney for Pinke’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.