After mistaking a pipe for a gun, police shot and killed Saheed Vassell, 34, in Brooklyn on Wednesday according to NBC.
Around 4:45 p.m., police responded to calls about a man who was pointing a pipe with a knob at the end at bystanders on the street.
According to police, Vassell “took a two-handed shooting stance” and pointed in officers’ direction when they approached him. In defense, they shot at him 10 times.
"This was not an EDP (emotionally disturbed person) call... this was a call of a man pointing what 911 callers felt was a gun at people on the street," NYPD Chief Terence Monahan told NBC. "When we encounter him he turns with what appears to be a gun at the officers. We have to stay straight on the facts with this incident today."
A witness at the scene, Jack Hinds, said the officer immediately fired and did not take one second to even talk or identify who the man was.
"It's almost like they did a hit and they didn't say 'freeze,' they didn't say 'put your hands up,' they didn't say 'stop for a minute.' They just started shooting," Hinds said.
Another witness, Chris J., was at a nearby salon when the shooting occurred.
“Blood was everywhere,” Chris said. “They put him on his back and they tried to compress his chest but he was gone.”
Vassell was pronounced dead after being taken to Kings County Hospital.
According to the New York Daily News, Vassell was mentally ill. Andre Wilson, a longtime friend of Vassell, said, “all he did was just walk around the neighborhood, and he speaks to himself, usually he has an orange Bible or a rosary in his hand. He never had a problem with anyone.”
Vassell leaves behind a 15-year-old son. Family members have demanded to see his body.