Slidell, LA — A mother in Slidell is grieving and asking for answers this week after police officers surrounded her son — who was in the midst of a mental health crisis — and shot him to death. Caleb McCree, 43, spent his last moments alive surrounded by police before he was shot, fell to the ground, and received at least 5 more bullets ensuring his untimely death.
According to police, who are being tight-lipped about the details of what led up to the shooting, a Slidell police officer responded to a call about an alleged stabbing at a Circle K gas station around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
McCree, according to his mother Beth Nilsson, was in a mental health crisis and need help.
"When he was on his medication he was a different person," Nilsson said of McCree, who lived with her. "I'm not sure what happened. I hope the investigation will reveal what actually occurred Sunday."
When the officer arrived, he encountered McCree and called for backup. Another Slidell police officer and a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's deputy arrived on the scene and had McCree surrounded as he walked around with a knife.
In a news release, the Slidell Police Department said the officers arriving on the scene encountered McCree and at some point "shots were fired by Slidell Police and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, resulting in the killing of the alleged suspect."
This scant description does not tell the entire story. However, the video taken by a witness at the gas station does.
As the video shows, police attempted to use a taser first but apparently missed. When McCree walked from behind the police cruiser, he was well over 15 feet from any officer when one of them opened fire, sending him falling to the ground.
The video then shows that McCree, although he was armed with a knife, was subdued on the ground with a bullet in his back when at least two officers decided to put five more rounds in him, making sure he would not survive.
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Luckily, none of the bullets ricocheted off the concrete and hit an innocent bystander.
Police spokesman Daniel Seuzeneau said Slidell police have specialized annual training to help identify and better deal with those who may have a mental illness.
"However, even then, if someone is an immediate threat to a member of the public or an officer, we have to protect the public and our officers have to go home at night," he said.
In the video below, it was clear that McCree was armed with a knife and members of the public were nearby. However, he was effectively surrounded by police and then shot. Once he was on the ground, he was no longer a threat to the officers or the public — yet these officers decided to dump at least five more rounds into him. This was excessive force at best and murder at worst.
Suicide by cop is an unfortunate reality in America. All too often those on the brink of suicide in need of mental health help act out and attempt to provoke cops — uninterested in providing said help — into killing them. As cops in America kill more citizens than any other country in the world, they are quick to oblige the suicide by cop requests.
McCree's mother, said she is reserving judgement on the actions of the officers who killed her son on Sunday. However, she said she wants to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.
"I do not want this to happen to any other mother or any other son," she said.