On Monday night, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Joshua Kersey was holding his housemate hostage with a knife before he was shot while appearing to be laying on the ground.
Police body camera video showed at one point, Kersey appeared to yell through the doors that he will “slit his [housemate’s] throat” if police opened the door.
Metro police said officers negotiated with Kersey for about 40 minutes before going in after hearing a struggle on the other side of the door.
Yet, Trujillo said her brother was unarmed and while there was a knife in the room that night, there wasn’t one in his hand.
“I feel like, you know, you’re supposed to call the cops because they’re there to help you, and I called the cops and all they did was take my brother for me,” she said. “I feel like if I hadn’t have asked for help, my brother would still be here.”
A retired police chief with more than 30 years of law enforcement experience reviewed the body camera footage and said he thinks the officers did the best they could to de-escalate the situation and keep the hostage safe.
“It’s a troublesome time when you’re dealing with someone you’ve been told is on alcohol and has a mental health issue. That is a deadly combination in many cases,” said retired police chief Troy Riggs.
However, Trujillo points to the part of the body camera video where the officer says, “If I have a shot, I’m taking it,” as a sign they never had any intention of calming down her brother.
“What was the point of shooting him? Like why? Why?” she asked.
Kersey had been suffering from mental illness his whole life, according to his sister.
She feels the community failed him and that he and didn’t deserve to die this way, believing he would be alive today if there was a mental health professional at the home.
A close family friend said Kersey had been depressed for several months after his 6-month-old son died in his arms and the mother of his daughter kept him from his child.
“He feels he has nothing. He had nothing, you know, but he needed professional help,” Lulita Sanders said.
Metro police said they had negotiators en route, but the crisis intervention team was at another scene and wasn’t able to respond.