INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 14 2015) – The family of a mentally ill man killed during a police shooting over the weekend is criticizing the police department for their handling of the shooting.
The family showed up to police headquarters hoping to talk to the chief on Monday. At the same time, many wonder if the shooting is a sign of a larger problem when it comes to how we deal with mentally ill people in our state.
Ignoring orders to drop his knife, cell phone video shows police confronting the man over the weekend. After repeatedly running at police, officers shot and killed him.
His mother does not think officers needed to use lethal force.
“I feel like they let me down they robbed me of my son's life. They shouldn’t have taken my son’s life like that,” said Pamela Wooden.
Wooden says her son Christopher Goodlow was bipolar and schizophrenic.
Police were called to the scene because Goodlow had reportedly been suicidal, but his mom doesn’t think police needed to shoot her son to get him under control.
“I want answers into why did they have to shoot to kill?” said Wooden.
“I believe that was suicide by cop and I think my son would have gone that route, but he choose to do it himself,” said Mellissa Baumann.
Baumann doesn’t know the Goodlow family, but five years ago her son Nick killed himself while suffering from bipolar disorder.
She believes the state should do more to help the mentally ill.
Right now with more than 800 mentally ill inmates, the Marion County Jail is the largest center for mental illness in the state.
“I think it would be beneficial to the state because the biggest institution for mental health is the Marion County Jail and that’s sad,” said Baumann.
On Saturday, after the shooting, IMPD police chief Rick Hite said the state needs to invest more resources to deal with mental illness.
“We want you to understand we are passionate about making sure we have mental health treatment,” said Hite.
“We are all torn up by it, but just like chief Hite said he’s standing behind his police, I’m standing behind my son,” said Wooden.
The officers involved have been placed on leave while the case is investigated.