NYPD Shoots Man in Mental Disorder After Responding to 911 Call

A New York City police officer shot and wounded a man Friday who officials said was in mental distress and wielded scissors and a kitchen knife 12 inches outside an assisted living home in the Bronx.

The episode came after officers responded to a 911 call, officials said. When the officers arrived, the man holding the scissors and knife ran towards them and then towards another man who was standing nearby, the officials said.

Officers told the man to drop the scissors, but he didn't, officials said. Instead, he turned and ran towards one of the officers, who fired three shots, hitting the man twice, officials said.

“This situation is fast-paced, volatile and dangerous,” said John Chell, the Police Department patrol chief, at the press conferenceadded: “We stop the threats against this community.”

The encounter was captured by officers' body-worn cameras, and Chief Chell said police officers had watched the footage but had not made it available to the public for review. The man, who the police did not identify other than saying he was 39 years old, was taken to hospital for treatment.

Chief Chell said police officers believed the man was from the facility, and that he had “four previous arrests and a documented mental history in our department.”

The shooting came less than a month after officers shot another mentally disturbed, knife-wielding man in the Bronx. In that incident, officers shot the man, Raul de la Cruz, within 28 seconds of answering the 311 call from Mr. de la Cruz, who had sought medical treatment for his son after arguing with him. The younger Mr de la Cruz remained unconscious for days after the shooting.

“This is just the latest tragic shooting of someone in a mental health crisis by a New York City police officer,” said Marinda van Dalen, senior staff attorney at New York Lawyers in the Public Interest who represents the family of Mr. de la Cruz . Ms. van Dalen said the shooting demonstrated “the need for a non-police response in New York City.”

The use of police officers to respond to phone calls involving people in mental health crises has been under scrutiny in New York and elsewhere across the country as frequent such encounters have turned deadly.

In New York in 2019, police officers shot dead a Bronx fitness instructor struggling with mental health issues. The officer involved in the shooting faces a disciplinary hearing next week. Officers also shot dead a man found to be mentally ill in 2018.

When police officers responded to calls about emotionally distressed people with sirens and flashing lights, and surrounded them charging them, said Ms. van Dalen, tensions can escalate quickly.

“There are alternatives and they work in other communities,” he said.

A relatively new program in New Jersey purports to prevent such encounters from turning deadly by pairing police officers with certified mental health examiners.

But in New York City, officers are often the first to respond to people in distress. Police responded to more than 171,000 calls involving so-called emotionally disturbed persons, or EDPs, in 2022, compared to about 158,000 calls in 2021, according to department data.

Friday's shooting was the latest in several recent police operations, including three shootings on April 13 alone. The shooting that day involved a gunman at the Bronx subway station; a man who has stabbed a security guard in Queens; and a 78-year-old Brooklyn man whose nephew called the police to say he thought there was a burglar at his uncle's house. The man who was shot in the incident died.