Community leaders weigh in on death of Dante Kittrell

NOW: Community leaders weigh in on death of Dante Kittrell

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Police, city officials, and Mayor James Mueller spoke on the officer-involved shooting death of 52-year old Dante Kittrell on Friday.

According to reports, South Bend Police were dispatched to Coquillard Traditional School after receiving a call about a man with a handgun threatening suicide near the school's baseball fields.

After 40 minutes of attempted de-escalation by police, Kittrell was reportedly shot and killed by the South Bend SWAT team.

Following the deadly confrontation, many are expressing the need for mental health professionals to respond first in a mental health crisis.

"There should be a first-tier response of getting mental health professionals out there first," said South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis Jr.  "We have people in this city who have mental illness that need to be addressed differently than most or other people."

However, some believe that the de-escalation efforts did not work, and that an appropriate response was taken based on the actions of Kittrell.

"It doesn't matter how much de-escalating you try or how much policy you have," said Josh Morgan, Vice President of the South Bend Fraternal Order of Police.  "His actions received the reaction that was given, the appropriate response I believe."

South Bend Mayor James Mueller released a statement regarding the shooting on Monday saying:

"I ask for the community to be patient and wait for more information, as Sheriff Redman and his team continue the investigation. We are committed to a full, transparent investigation and any needed improvements going forward.  This tragedy shows that we must do more to support our neighbors in need of mental health resources, especially those from communities of color, and find the will to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands."

The shooting is still under investigation.

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