Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Officer Shoots Man Who Pulled Knives; the Mentally Ill Man Would Not Stay Down after Being Jolted by Tasers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Officer Shoots Man Who Pulled Knives; the Mentally Ill Man Would Not Stay Down after Being Jolted by Tasers

Article excerpt

Byline: JIM SCHOETTLER

Jacksonville police will investigate why repeated Taser jolts did not stop a knife-wielding mentally ill man before he was fatally shot in a confrontation with officers Tuesday.

Police said Sierra White, 30, died outside his Arlington apartment shortly after police were called to help a mental health caseworker having trouble with him, said Chief Rick Graham of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The shooting occurred shortly after 11 a.m. in the Abbington Square Apartments at 3450 Townsend Blvd.

Graham said the caseworker met with resistance from White during a routine visit to his apartment. After White opened the door, he became agitated and the worker called police. The first officer to arrive was C.N. Hall, who is trained in crisis intervention.

The caseworker continued speaking with White, but he became more upset and at one point went inside and closed the door. Hall called for backup and was joined by Sgt. Rob Beers and Officer B.A. Meyers.

The officers took cover after hearing a noise from inside that appeared to be the racking of a gun, Graham said. The officers tried speaking with White and drew him out. The dialogue continued when White suddenly pulled a knife from each pants pocket. The 4-to-6-inch knives appeared to be similar to steak knives, Graham said.

The officers continued trying to get White to surrender. As he moved toward them, Hall and Meyers shot him with their Tasers. The devices shoot barbs with 50,000 volts that disrupt a person's nervous system, causing temporary incapacitation.

White collapsed from the jolts but continued to hold onto the knives, Graham said. As White began to rise, Meyers triggered his Taser a second time and White went down again. Beers then tried unsuccessfully to kick the knives out of White's hands and backed away.

White began to rise again and Meyers pulled the Taser trigger a third time. …

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