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Boston Police Shooting Of Schizophrenic Man Calls Mental Health Resources To Question

BOSTON (CBS) -- Hope Coleman says the death of her son Terrance should've never happened.

The 31-year-old was shot early Sunday morning by Boston police after they said he attacked officers and EMTs with a knife, but Coleman says her son was not armed and not acting violently.

"I am a mother trying to help my son, and this is what I get. A dead son," Coleman said.

Terrence had a history of suffering from paranoia and schizophrenia. Coleman said she called 911 for her son because she was concerned for his health after standing outside in the cold for hours. When EMTs and officers arrived, police say he pulled a knife and struggled on the floor with EMTs, injuring two of them. That's when police burst in and shot him.

mother hope coleman south end shooting
Hope Coleman. (WBZ-TV)

"Dealing with mental health and individuals who suffer from paranoia and schizophrenia, you don't know what they are up to. They can suddenly act out," Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said. "It's unfortunate what happened the other night and they need more help."

Mayor Marty Walsh says more long-term solutions and investment needs to be put toward mental health issues.

"In this state in the last five years, we have closed facilities and tried to re-institute people back into their homes and the programs are not there to give assistance at home," Walsh said.

Dr. Danna Mauch is CEO of the Massachusetts Association For Mental Health. She says more emergency care needs to be provided for families dealing with mental health and  police need more crisis intervention training.

"My only regret would be that there was not a mental health professional she felt she could call in," Mauch said of Coleman. "We have to do a better job linking the justice response and the response from the ambulances to those mental health professionals so they can respond in tandem if necessary."

Meanwhile Coleman says the loss of her son is too hard to bear.

"I can't depend on the system because they killed him," she cried.


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