The man from La Ressource, Vieux Fort, was shot by police on Monday June 16, 2014. According to reports, at about 10:15 a.m. officers attached to the Vieux Fort Police Station responded to a report of a suspected mentally challenged male causing a disturbance at La Ressource. Upon arriving on the scene, officers encountered a man “behaving erratically,” a police press statement says. It goes on to say that on approaching the suspect, the officers observed him pick up two stones, one in each hand, and threatened them.
The officers responded by calling on him to put down the offensive objects; he refused and continued advancing towards them. The police again called upon him to stop but still he did not heed the warnings of the officers.
At that point, the officers discharged two non-lethal rounds of ammunition in his direction in an effort to subdue him. It was only when this failed that the police discharged a weapon containing regular ammunition, which hit him in the process.
However, the family of Gabriel say that they pleaded with the police not to shoot their son. They say it was not the first time that law enforcers had been called to assist in bringing him in for treatment, but that he was never violent. They are also questioning why the police shot Gabriel in the chest and not possibly his leg to subdue him.
This latest incident has once again raised calls about police handling of mental patients.
This is the second such incident in just over ten months. Although the authorities have indicated that an investigation into the matter has commenced, it offers little consolation to Gabriel’s family or the public at large.