LODI (CBS13) - For the first time since he was shot and killed, a Lodi man's family talks to CBS13 about incident and explains why his military service played a role in his death.
Parminder Singh Shergill's family members say he was a veteran of the U.S. Army and struggled with PTSD for many years. They believe that played a role in how he died.
"A widowed mother called the Lodi Police Department for help and next thing you know, her son is dead," said.
A photo of 43-year-old Shergill dressed in his Army uniform sits at a small memorial near the spot where he died.
"It's just a matter of sadness what happened," said Rex Dhatt.
Dhatt is the committee chair at the Lodi Sikh temple where Shergill was a member.
"I think he served a total of 4 1/2 years [in the Army] and he also was part of Desert Storm," said Dhatt. "He was a very loving person -- very calm person who got along very well with everybody."
Last Saturday morning, family says his mother called Lodi police because she needed medical assistance for her son. But police say when they arrived, he came at them with a knife, forcing them to open fire. Several markers show the shell casings on the ground that morning.
"The Lodi Police Department knew about his background because a few other times, whenever the mother needed help, she would call them and they would take him to the V.A. Hospital for his medicines and stuff," said
Family says Shergill was never a violent man, but he did have a history of mental illness from PTSD.
And what he needed that day was help.
"You can just imagine how the mother feels. She's the one that called police department. She feels responsible now for what happened to her son," said Dhatt.
Now a community is in mourning after police used deadly force against a man who once risked his life to serve our country.
"We absolutely don't want this to happen to any other soldier of the United States. We have to take care of our veterans better than we are," said Dhatt.
Police are still investigating the incident. The two officers involved were placed on administrative leave, but have since returned to work.
A funeral will be held for Shergill next Saturday at the Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home in Lodi.
for more features.