MESQUITE, Texas (UKTN) – Ashton Pinke’s family huddled together on Tuesday, May 4, comforting a relative who had collapsed with loud sobs outside the Audobon Park apartments in Mesquite.
News of his death following a meeting with the police spread quickly.
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“There was a lady screaming and there was a guy lying on the ground and paramedics seemed to want to revive him,” recalls Rico Bell, a neighbor who witnessed the immediate aftermath of the shooting. A neighbor captured video of the loud and repeated screams from Pinke’s girlfriend.
Several neighbors have reported hearing the gunshots and seeing Pinke, who lived in the complex with his girlfriend and young daughter, on a cobbled path where hours later her clothes still lay. Nearby was what they described as a cane or stick which he often carried while walking.
“I don’t know if he threw himself on him. From what I understood, he walked around the corner and the officer said, “Don’t do it,” said Ty Hardaway, another neighbor.
Relatives say Pinke has had mental health issues.
An uncle said he was diagnosed with bipolar schizophrenia and took medication to help control the disease.
Early Tuesday morning, his girlfriend called Pinke’s mother and 911.
His family said they were looking for help for him.
“In the background we could hear screams and it looked like someone was being assaulted,” said Sgt. Mark Bradford, spokesperson for the Mesquite Police Department.
Police said the call they received was disconnected, but dispatchers were able to identify the number as a number that had previously dialed 911.
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They connected to an address to which the police had already replied. When two veteran officers from the department arrived, they encountered Pinke.
“The suspect indicted police officers with a knife and a club,” read a police press release.
Both officers fired their guns, hitting Pinke, who was later pronounced dead in hospital.
“According to witnesses at the scene, it should have been a mental health check,” wrote Justin Moore, a lawyer representing the family.
Activists at the scene questioned the use of lethal force, but it is not known whether any of the officers had access to a taser.
“It’s the officers’ option to wear one. I don’t know if these officers chose to wear a taser or not, ”said Sgt. Bradford, during a brief press conference.
Ukiah Swain, who was listening, was frustrated.
“To hear him say that the police in Mesquite have the choice of whether or not to wear a taser. So there could have been a non-lethal way to deal with this situation? This situation to my understanding of a man with a cane? “, She says.
Mesquite Police have vowed to release body-worn camera footage that captured the shoot.
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Pinke’s family say he was a father of four.