Tulsa Mother Has Request After Police Shoot, Kill Son
TULSA, Oklahoma - The mother of a man killed by police wants to make sure her son didn't die in vain.
Police say the naked man threatened officers with a gun and they had no choice but to open fire.
Kim Flanagan says her adult son, Jacob Craig, didn't deserve to die, even though he had a gun when officers confronted him.
She says officers had an alternative and if they had better training in dealing with the mentally ill, her son might be alive today.
"I am devastated,” she said. “I lost his father at 31, and I've lost him at 31.”
Flanagan is choking back tears trying to come to terms with the loss of her son.
"His heart was a pure heart,” she said. “He loved people and he loved his family."
Police shot and killed Craig Monday afternoon after detectives say he ran toward them with a gun, ignoring commands to put it down.
"You don't address a mentally ill person with anger and hostility and commands,” said Flanagan. “It doesn't work. You're going to end up with a bad situation every single time."
Police understand Flanagan's frustrations.
"It's tragic,” said Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker. “It's not unlike we haven't seen before, but unless we get a handle on the funding for mental health issues, I think you're going to see more of this."
Flanagan doesn't want another parent to go through what she's going through.
"I want to see that people understand mental illness, to understand substance abuse, to please stop incarcerating these people,” she stated.
Craig's mom says her son hasn't been the same since seeing his wife and unborn child die when they were hit by a car a decade ago. She insists there was no reason to shoot him, even though he had a gun.
"He would get agitated when he would get mentally ill, but he did not, he didn't have a mean bone in his body,” she said.
Flanagan hopes police use this incident to change their policies on dealing with the mentally ill.
"They need to be educated,” she said. “They need to be trained by mental health professionals not their own, by what to do, what to say, how to approach them."
Officer Jairo Calle is on paid leave. He's been with Tulsa police for about seven years and is a combat veteran.