Maricopa, AZ — When Lawrence Knudsen, 56, called 911 on March 27, 2022, he had committed no crime and was in need of serious mental health help. Unfortunately, the “help” sent to him that day by the 911 dispatcher came in the form of multiple bullets to his chest. Knudsen was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was executed in broad daylight.
On the Sunday afternoon he was killed, Knudsen was in a suicidal state. He originally called 911 to tell them he was suicidal and during the call, he was open and honest. In the 911 recording below, he is heard telling police that he wasn’t looking to hurt any officers and he acknowledged that he owned a gun.
Three units were dispatched to Knudsen’s home to “help” him that day. When they arrived, Knudsen became agitated with the 911 dispatcher and started referring to the officers as “p***ies” for not driving all the way to his home.
As the video below shows, officers never made it to Knudsen’s home. Instead, they stopped in the curve of the road and Knudsen approached them.
“Let’s do this!” Knudsen said repeatedly to the 911 dispatcher as he informed her that he was walking toward police.
“Let’s do this!” he says again as he walks toward the officers.
It was entirely clear from the video that Knudsen’s hands were above his head as he walked toward Maricopa officers McCorry, Nye, and Nylander.
Nye appeared to notice that the object in Knudsen’s hand was not a weapon and he switches from his pistol to his taser as Knudsen continues to walk toward them with his hands in the air.
Officer Nye discharged his taser and the incident could have been over at this point. Knudsen would’ve fallen to the ground and officers could’ve handcuffed him and taken him to the hospital where he clearly needed to be. Unfortunately, however, that did not happen and as soon as Nye tasered Knudsen, officer Nylander fires four rounds at center mass, striking Knudsen in his chest with all four bullets.
Knudsen immediately collapses and begins groaning in agony and as the life fades from his body, officers calmly radio in “shots fired.” Knudsen would be taken to the hospital but it was too late.
After Knudsen was killed, local media reported that he was “armed with a gun.” However, the video shows that was not the case and Knudsen’s gun was 100 feet away in his truck when he was killed.
According to 12 News, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is now handling the investigation into the officer-involved shooting and the Maricopa Police Department will conduct its own administrative review to determine if the actions of officers involved were in line with department policies.
Suicide by cop — in the land of the free — is an unfortunate, and oft-used option for those in mental distress. As this case illustrates, all too often, police officers respond to incidents in which mentally ill people need help, and then kill those people, so it makes it a rather easy option.
As the video below clearly shows, Knudsen did not need to die that day. Had Nylander waited just 2 more seconds as the unarmed man — with his hands in the air — was tasered, Knudsen would have received the help he needed. She did not.
Knudsen was the 15th person in 2022 to be killed by police in Maricopa county. He was unarmed and had committed no crime.