Suspect Killed By San Francisco Police Struggled With Mental Illness

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The man shot and killed by a San Francisco police officer on Wednesday had a history of mental illness, according to Police Chief George Gascon.

Police were called to a home on Bacon Street in the Portola District Wednesday where a teenage girl had been stabbed. Officers cornered a man holding a scalpel-like object and ordered him to put down they weapon.

They opened fire when the man lunged at them. The suspect later died at San Francisco General Hospital.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

Officers later learned he had struggled with mental health issues for a decade, Gascon said at a news conference the next day.

“Apparently he reacts very violently to noises,” Gascon said.

The officers are on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated.

The incident raised the question once again whether San Francisco police officers should be armed with stun guns. The Police Commission voted 4 – 3 against adopting stun guns last March.

“Whether for instance having a Taser, whether that would have precluded the shooting or not, I can’t speculate,” he said.

But officers should have more tools in situations such as this, where there were several other teenagers in the house at the time of the shooting.

“We know that there are tools out that would probably give our officers another option that we do not have today,” he said.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Zack Debarco

    Cut the mental health budget and what do you get? Having personally witnessed the anialation of the budget over the years, it’s getting worse for all concerned. Citizen Review Boards should not be handicapping the police by not allowing them to have less lethal options. I don’t know if they would have helped in this situation, but options are good.

  • DJ

    So tasing him would have been a better option, that way he would be placed into an institution for a few years and once he’s released he can stop taking his meds and start attacking victims again.
    Sounds right to me.

  • Gerry Edwards

    When I hear this news report how the mother pleaded with the two officers to please give her son time to calm down, just how immediate was the threat of loss of life or great bodily injury was to those two officers? I wonder how two officers on one man, even while he had a knife in hand, was not some situation where the officers could have tried use of their issued cannisters of chemical agents or expandable batons would have overwhelmed him.

  • rick

    they could’ve spared him,but they have no compassion. the guy is mental. the FDA has everyone going mad or getting fat and the government don’t care.

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