LODI (CBS13) — Officers say they were forced to fire on a Gulf War veteran, but his family says the use of force was unnecessary in a lawsuit.
Months after his death, a memorial still stands in the very place Perminder Shergill was shot and killed by Lodi Police officers. In his memory, the family is not giving up their fight to try and understand why their brother and son is now dead.
“We need the truth,” said his sister Kulbinder Sohota. “What happened that day? Why did the police kill my brother? We need those answers.”
Answers to why her brother was shot along a quiet Lodi street.
“All of the neighborhood knows him. Good person. He would not harm anybody,” she said.
The family has filed a lawsuit against the City of Lodi and the San Joaquin County District Attorney. They claim not enough is being done to uncover what really happened.
“We don’t get the answers, that is why we are doing what we are doing,” she said.
Shergill was a Gulf War veteran, who had been experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms. His mother called police to help take him to a veterans clinic. A short time later Perminder was dead.
“They said we are going to go look for him, if we can find him,” she said. “We will talk to him. If we don’t see him, just give us a call back and next thing we know they shot him.”
Lodi Police say the 43-year-old Army veteran lunged at them with a knife, forcing them to open fire. Neighbors say there was no reason to kill him on that January morning.
“They could have shot him with a stun gun or with rubber bullets or in the leg, but not the way they did it,” said neighbor Katalina Jimenez.
The family is having a hard time coping with his death, and say now they just want peace and to ensure their brother is not thought of like a criminal.
“We want his name to be cleared, he did not have a knife in his hand,” Sohota said. “We know he did not have a knife.”
According to police, the investigation into the shooting is ongoing and will determine if the officer acted appropriately. They are seeking more witnesses to come forward.