LODI, Calif. (CBS13/AP) – The Lodi Police Department on Monday released the transcript of a 911 call moments before a controversial officer-involved fatal shooting of a Gulf War veteran.
Two police officers in Lodi, California, shot and killed Parminder Singh Shergill on Jan. 25 after responding to a 911 call made by his sister-in-law where she tells a 911 dispatcher that Shergill is a paranoid schizophrenic who is “going crazy” and was attacking her mother-in-law inside the house.
Police claim that the officers shot Shergill after he charged at them while outside and carrying a knife in his hand. However, Shergill’s family disputes the police’s account and filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last month accusing the officers of using excessive force.
In addition to the transcript of the 911 call, Lodi police also released Monday, transcripts from the officers involved, a picture of the knife they say Shergill carried the day he was shot and a history of visits by law enforcement to where the Army veteran lived. Lodi is about 90 miles east of San Francisco.
Lodi Police Chief Mark Helms said Monday that his department released details to answer questions raised in the community about the shooting. He said 17 investigators have been assigned to the case, seven of whom work for the police department and more than 60 interviews have been conducted.
“Quite frankly, some of this information we should’ve released earlier because there’s been so much misinformation out there,” Helms said. “We want to show that we are being serious about this, that we are transparent and we want to maintain trust within the community.”
According to police, an officer states over a radio to dispatch that Shergill “has a knife in his right hand” and “he’s refusing my commands.” The officer then asked dispatch to call Shergill’s family and “advise them to barricade the front door.”
Police said that according to evidence, Shergill raised an 8-inch knife and came toward the officers while verbally threatening them.
“Officers fired their handguns until Shergill fell to the ground and was no longer a threat to their safety,” police said.
Police said that 14 shots were fired during the shooting. Shergill’s relatives have said they counted 14 bullet holes in his body and have questioned why police fired that many times.
Mark Merin, a lawyer for Shergill’s family, said Monday that police chose to release certain aspects about the investigation and not such information including the autopsy and toxicology and forensic reports. Merin said his clients want even more information about the shooting to be made public.
“Otherwise, we just have an incomplete picture. I want to see the full release of the information we’ve been requesting,” said Merin, adding that several witnesses say they did not see Shergill holding a knife when he was shot.
Merin also said that Shergill was yelling at his mother, not attacking her.
Shergill’s family said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after participating in Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s.