Police in Huntington Park, California, shot and killed a double amputee who was holding a knife while attempting to flee on what remained of his legs.
The violent encounter leading to the death of Anthony Lowe Jr., 36, happened last week, but the story began to gain national attention when the man’s family gathered on Monday to demand accountability and with the emergence of a passerby video showing officers pursuing Lowe as he hobbled away.
Police said they received a call Thursday afternoon from a man who said he was stabbed by another man in a wheelchair. Upon arrival, officers tried to detain the suspect, who was armed with a 12-inch butcher knife, the Huntington Park Police Department said in a statement.
Officers deployed two separate Tasers in an attempt to subdue Lowe, but they were ineffective, police said. The statement said the suspect continued to threaten officers with the butcher knife, which led to the shooting. Paramedics declared Lowe dead at the scene, according to authorities.
A spokesperson for Lowe’s family said Lowe, whose legs were amputated at the knees, was undergoing a mental health crisis when he was fatally shot, according to CBS News.
At a press conference with activists on Monday, Members of Lowe’s called for accountability and decried what they said is a lack of transparency. Among the gathering was Lowe’s mother Dorothy. “They murdered my son, in a wheelchair with no legs,” she said. “They do need to do something about it.”
Lowe’s cousin, Ellakenyada Gorum, argued that officers “knew” their lives were not in danger.
Calling attention to other deaths of black people in incidents involving law enforcement, Gorum also said, “It’s sad how these police are getting away with killing our African American people. Just getting away with it. He was in a wheelchair. What more could he do?”
Huntington police said in their statement that the involved officers were placed on paid administrative leave pending investigations by law enforcement and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.