Man killed by Springfield police had mental illness

3 months 3 weeks 3 days ago January 03, 2017 Jan 3, 2017 Tuesday, January 03 2017 Tuesday, January 03, 2017 11:25:52 AM CST in News
By: The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Relatives of a man shot and killed by Springfield police are questioning whether officers had the necessary training to deal with his mental illness.

The Springfield News-Leader reported Jeannie Harper said her son, James Lewis, had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. She wonders whether the 44-year-old was in crisis when officers shot him Sunday at a Springfield park. Lewis died later at a hospital.

Police said in a news release that the shooting happened when Lewis displayed a handgun during a confrontation. The release said less-lethal weapons weren't effective.

Harper says Lewis "had a mental problem" and didn't "deserve that."

Lewis' sister, Ann Lewis, said one of her brother's biggest struggles was staying on his medication because his paranoia would cause him to think the medication was bad.

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