Officer-involved shootings are always controversial, in part because they tend to trigger the same basic question: Could the cops have safely taken the suspect into custody using something less than deadly force?
This issue resonates in the matter of Cody Seastone, a sixteen year old diagnosed as bipolar, who was critically wounded as the result of a police shooting even though he was only armed with knives he'd used to damage a screen door. Details, photos and video below.
The info comes to us from 9News, which secured interviews with Janine Pinto, Seastone's mom, and Christine DeLuz, his grandmother, with whom he lives.
According to Pinto, who is disabled, Seastone's condition was serious enough that he was placed into a psychiatric ward for treatment and only released mere weeks ago.
At that time, the family was optimistic that a new medication had evened out his mood swings. But on Monday evening, he spiraled out of control. Pinto says he used knives to slash at walls in the home, and did likewise to the screen door of the home.
"Cody, please knock it off. The cops are going to come," Pinto recalls telling him.
The reply, according to Pinto? "I don't care."
He would soon enough. Denver police did indeed arrive at the scene, with officers drawing their weapons at the sight of the knives.
They ordered Seastone to drop the knives, DeLuz notes, but rather than complying, he actually raised them -- at which point they opened fire.
Was this approach justified? Well, Pinto maintains that Seastone didn't "move menacingly" toward the police -- and she feels confident that he could have been brought down with the use of a Taser or a hit from a rubber bullet, as opposed to the more lethal kind.
The officers are currently on administrative leave, as is the case whenever such an incident takes place, and an investigation is underway to determine if the shooting was justified. In the meantime, the troubled Seastone has a new health crisis with which to deal. He's reportedly at a local hospital in critical but stable condition.
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Look below to see the 9Newsreport.
More from our News archive circa December 2012: "Independent monitor: Five Denver police officer-involved shootings still under review."