The knife-wielding man killed in a Brooklyn police shooting on Monday morning had apparently sought a “suicide by cop,” the NYPD announced Tuesday.
Two police officers opened fire on the individual, identified as Eudes Pierre, as he charged at them with a knife along Eastern Parkway near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 4:10 a.m. on Dec. 20. Pierre was hit numerous times in the torso, and pronounced dead a short time later at Kings County Hospital.
But law enforcement sources said Tuesday that it now appears Pierre intentionally provoked police into shooting him because he wanted to end his life.
Detectives learned that Pierre himself had called 911 and reported a man with “a gun and a knife” at the location to get members of the 71st Precinct to respond. The call had been made from a cellphone found in his possession after he was shot.
When officers arrived on the scene, Assistant Chief Michael Kemper said Monday, they observed the man, later identified as Pierre, holding a knife with a three-inch blade in one hand, and his other hand in his pocket. No gun was ever found in Pierre’s possession.
Officers made numerous demands for Pierre to drop the knife, at one point following him into and out of the nearby Utica Avenue station. Police attempted to immobilize him by firing their Tasers, but Kemper said that they had no effect.
After Pierre had exited the station, police officials said, he again refused demands to drop and ran at the officers, prompting them to open fire.
“Follow-up investigation revealed that this incident now appears to be a ‘suicide by cop’ situation,” the NYPD said in a statement. “NYPD records indicate responses to two attempted suicides by the same individual prior to yesterday’s events.”
Police also later obtained a suicide note that Pierre had written, which had been left at his family’s residence.
The NYPD Force Investigation Squad is continuing its investigation. The Office of Attorney General Letitia James has also launched its own probe into the matter.
Despite the NYPD’s findings, an attorney for Pierre’s family wants to know why officers chose to pull the trigger on a mentally ill man.
“The death of Eudes Pierre is not the first time in this city a mentally ill person has been killed by a member of the NYPD,” said attorney Sanford Rubenstein. “The question that needs to be answered is, ‘Was Eudes Pierre an imminent threat to the lives of the police officers who shot and killed him?’ This family will fully cooperate with the investigation of the Attorney General’s office.”