Police in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, shot and killed a man Sunday after he was allegedly found holding a knife to his mother’s throat. However, the man’s mother has since come forward with claims that her son was not actually holding a knife and that he was wrongfully murdered.
According to PennLive, 20-year-old Earl Shaleek Pinckney was shot in the heart by authorities on Sunday after police responded to a call made by a little girl claiming that her uncle was trying to hurt her grandmother.
In a press conference Monday, Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marisco said another adult took over the phone call and explained that her brother was attacking their mother, Kim Thomas, with a knife. After arriving to the scene, Marisco said officers found Pinckney in a second-floor bedroom where he was holding his mother at knifepoint.
Police ordered Pinckney to drop the knife, Marisco went on to say. After his refusal, an officer fired a single shot that killed Pinckney, Marisco added.
Although Marisco said the family was cooperating with police, Pinckney’s mother gave a conflicting account of what happened.
"They killed my son. They shot my son," Thomas said.
According to Thomas, Pinckney and a few other relatives had been arguing outside the house earlier in the day, but police never responded to the initial phone call. After a second argument ensued the police finally arrived.
However, Thomas says she had already diffused the situation and Pinckney was calming down in a room with his sister and niece when police unexpectedly arrived – shining a light into a room—and fired a shot.
"They were arguing. They got a little rustling," Thomas explained. "I stopped it. I told everybody to get out of the house. I hold my son. I was talking to my son. I know how to control my son. He was calming down. Everything was getting fine."
As for Marisco’s statement regarding the knife Pinckney was allegedly holding against his mother’s throat with authorities arrived, Thomas says that was not true.
“No, no. He never had a knife,” she said. "He didn't have nothing in his hands. He was holding my head. They never came in."
Pinckney’s brother, Marques Thomas, also said more than a dozen police arrived to their home, and he saw the police shoot his brother through one of the windows on the second floor in the back of the house while watching from the second floor roof porch overhang.
Thomas said that police never entered the house until they tried to “drag” her out after Pinckney had already allegedly been shot.
According to Thomas, Pinckney was diagnosed as bipolar, but she said that he “wasn’t dangerous.”
Thomas, who has lived in Harrisburg for the past 17 years where she’s worked for the county and school district, says that there was “no excuse for them to come in and shoot" her son.
“My kids are respectable,” she said, adding that she’s been calling on “activists” for help shedding light on her son’s tragedy.
However, Marisco is hoping the situation won’t result in racial tension in Harrisburg. “We certainly understand that there is tension thanks to things going on in different part of the country,” he said during the press conference.
The identity of the officer who shot Pinckney was not immediately revealed.