Mentally disabled man shot dead by police while playing with a TOY GUN after 911 calls from terrified neighbours Mentally-disabled-man-shot-dead-police-playing-TOY-GUN-911-calls-terrified-neighbours
A mentally disabled man has been shot dead by police because he was playing with a toy gun. Police gunned down Ernest Vassell after residents, who saw a man carrying what appeared to be a rifle, called 911. Authorities said they had to fire as Vassell was terrorising the neighbourhood in North Miami Beach, Florida.
But devastated family members say the 56-year old, who had been mentally disabled since he was a child, had been had never been violent.
Police spokesman Sgt. Warren Hardison said there was an encounter with the man and officers and shots were fired. He was taken by helicopter to Jackson Memorial Hospitalís Ryder Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Vassell's devastated family is now demanding answers. Older sister Claire Harding said that her bortehr was autistic. She said: 'They murdered him in cold blood for a toy gun. That's no reason for you to kill somebody.'
She added: 'They could tell him to drop the gun. They say they told him to drop it and he raised his hand,' WFOR reported. 'He probably raised his hand to hand them the gun because he is afraid of police.'
The family has called for changes to the Police Department.
Harding added: 'They should train these police officers better. This is ridiculous, they just go around killing people for nothing.'
Officers encountered the man shortly after 5:15 p.m, said North Miami Beach police spokeswoman Maj. Kathy Katerman.
Mentally disabled man shot dead by police while playing with a TOY GUN after 911 calls from terrified neighbours | Mail Online