Walter Wallace Jr.’s Family Say They Called for Ambulance, Not Police, in Mental Health Crisis

The family of Walter Wallace Jr. say they called for an ambulance — not for police intervention — on the day he was fatally shot by Philadelphia police.

In an interview with KYW NewsRadio's Cherri Gregg, Walter Jr.'s parents, Walter Wallace Sr. and Cathy Brant, said Walter Jr.’s brother had called for medical assistance after Cathy tripped while trying to calm Walter Jr. down.

Though they say the brother asked for an ambulance, police showed up instead and allegedly appeared to laugh at the situation.

Per The Associated Press on Wednesday, Walter Jr.’s parents says officers were at the family house three times that day.

Later, the situation escalated, and — as seen in a widely circulated social media video — police shot Walter multiple times after he allegedly approached them with a knife.

“When you come to a scene where somebody is in a mental crisis, and the only tool you have to deal with it is a gun... where are the proper tools for the job?” Wallace family attorney Shaka Johnson was quoted saying via the AP.

The AP reports that Chief Police Inspector Frank Vanore confirmed that authorities had received a call before the fatal encounter Monday about a man screaming and saying that he was armed with a knife.

However, officials could not confirm what information had been given to the responding officers, whether they were told about a possible mental illness, or how many calls they had received for help at the family home.

At a press conference Tuesday night, a reporter asked Cathy if she told authorities about her son’s mental health issues.

“They already knew about. It’s already on his record,” she said in response.

CNN wrote on Wednesday that Walter Jr., who had nine children, suffered from bipolar disorder.

Walter Sr. also told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night, “He can't hurt a damn fly. He had mental issues.”

Though Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Grippafter told KYW that officers saw a man with a knife who "was brandishing it, and waving it erratically,” Walter Sr. told Cuomo that he believes, "It could have been dealt with in a different way.”

“He could have called a superior to handle the situation," Walter Sr. added.

When asked by KYW what she wished would have happened, Cathy answered, “Try to talk to him, calm him down, tase him if you have to. But don’t shoot him down like a dog. That was wrong, that was wrong.”

On Thursday, a source told CNN that Walter Jr.’s family has reviewed all available police body camera footage and listened to available 911 audio recordings related to the fatal event.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says the emergency calls and body camera footage will be released to the public in the next couple of days.


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