NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The mother of a man killed by Metro police claims he was executed. Now she is on a quest for justice.
Joshua Kersey, 30, was shot at his mother’s home in Antioch by Officer Cole Ranseen early last month after Kersey reportedly held a housemate hostage at knifepoint.
Kersey’s mother spoke out for the first time after burying her son, saying his death could have been prevented.
“I buried my son; it’s the hardest thing I ever had to do,” Elizabeth Trujillo cried.
Now the heartbroken mother is shifting her heartache into action.
“It was a senseless killing, it didn’t have to happen,” she said.
Kersey was killed on Oct. 9, and Trujillo said that will be the last time their family calls 911 for help.
“These people are here to protect us. They have a license to kill and they don’t care who they kill,” she said.
Police said a heated argument between family members prompted the 911 call, in which you hear Kersey’s sister tell dispatchers he had “severe mental issues.”
Trujillo said they warned police when they arrived to their home as well, questioning why a mental health clinician wasn’t on the scene.
“He got manic a lot. He was misunderstood, but he was a good soul,” Trujillo cried.
Metro police said they had negotiators on the way. They’ve also said they don’t send mental health co-responders into unsecured situations.
Responding officers said they tried to negotiate with Kersey through a closed bedroom door. They then heard a struggle between him and an alleged hostage, breached the door, and shot him.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation claims Kersey came at police with a large knife. However, the body camera footage shows Kersey lying on the ground when he was shot.
“He was [lying] on his back with his hands up in the air. How do you shoot to kill a defenseless man?” Trujillo questioned.
It’s video his mother can’t find the strength to watch.
“My son didn’t have anything in his hands. There was no reason why he couldn’t have been tazed. They could’ve threw a shoe at him and brought him back to this world. He was manic; he was scared to death. It didn’t have to happen,” Trujillo said.
Trujillo also said the officer needs to face charges while she is on a mission for justice.
“If I have anything to do with it, it will never happen to nobody else. I’m not going to stop until change comes. I’m mad, really mad. I’ve never in my life hated. It’s a feeling that I’ve never wanted to experience or for my children to experience, but I have so much hate in my heart for this man with no disregard to human life, and he knew almost as soon as he went into my house that he was going to shoot my son. He didn’t care what the situation was when he opened the door. He knew he was going to shoot him. He said so, that’s premeditated murder,” Trujillo explained, pointing to audio in the body camera footage where the officer is heard saying, “If I have a shot, I’m taking it.”
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Kersey’s family is planning legal action.
On Friday, Nov. 3, his family placed his pictures on his aunt’s Uber, signs that they say are just the beginning of Joshua’s journey for justice.
“I’m not going to stop until somebody decides to change some laws to protect our mentally ill people, because they’re not protecting them. They are killing them,” Trujillo said.