Man fatally shot by Jersey City police was having mental health crisis, family says

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By Dan Sears

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) — The New Jersey Attorney General is investigating a police-involved shooting in Jersey City that left one man dead.

Officers responded to a home on Randolph Avenue near Bramhall Avenue just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday after EMS requested police.

Officials say police were trying to deescalate the situation, when the man charged at them with a knife. One police officer fired his service weapon and shot the man, authorities said.

The man’s family identified him as Andrew Jerome Washington, 52. He was transported to the hospital for surgery, but was later pronounced dead.

Washington’s family says he was suffering from a mental health crisis and called for help, but his family did not expect a SWAT team to confront their loved one, who was reportedly in an ‘agitated state.’

His family says something similar happened to him years ago and it did not end well, however this time it was far worse. About 12 years ago, Washington was shot in the arm during a confrontation with police.

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This time, the family says they called a crisis center on Saturday afternoon that had treated him as recently as a few days prior for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They were worried he was released too soon.

According to Washington’s relatives, he was not violent, but he had a “terrible illness.”

“They were talking to him. He was yelling at them. Because we were like, let us go in, let us talk to him, let us try to go inside. Because then they see SWAT people coming. And we were like, ‘why are you calling SWAT?’ And they go in and then we heard two shots. We thought they had shot him with a pellet gun or something,” said his aunt, Doris Ervin.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office says it begins an investigation any time someone dies in an encounter with a law enforcement officer, and that it was EMS personnel on the scene who requested help from the Jersey City Police.

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“They need to do better when it comes to mental patients. They need to be more compassionate and understanding when they act when they shoot someone and the family members are standing outside waiting to find out and they sit here for three hours and have to act like crazy fools for them to finally tell us that they killed our nephew,” added his aunt, Lisa Mendez.

The body camera footage worn during the encounter will be reviewed, authorities said.

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