On August 23, Ottawa, Kansas police shot Joseph Jennings 16 times, even as his aunt and uncle begged them not to. According to KCTV in Ottawa, Jennings was suicidal. He had taken an overdose August 21, and two police officers helped to save his life. Both of those officers were involved in gunning down the teen, two days later.
Jennings was released from Ransom Memorial Hospital two days after the suicide attempt, on August 23. His Aunt, Brandy Smith, told KCTV that he left the house just a few hours after returning home, apparently on a suicide mission. Smith said that she looked out her window and saw Jennings outside, as well as six police officers. She and her husband ran to the scene.
“I told them it is Joseph Jennings. He is suicidal. He is upset, don’t shoot him,”
“And I told them, if he has a gun, it’s a BB gun. But we don’t know that… He knew that if he acted like he had a gun that they would shoot him, and I told them that.”
Joseph Jennings’ uncle also attempted to intervene.
“My husband was going to tackle him. He was within arms reach. They said to get back or they were going to shoot him,”
Smith told reporters with KCTV.
“It was like six — six officers, and one cop yelled, ‘Bag him!’ And they bagged him, and he kind of puffed up a little bit, and then they bagged him two more times, and then like 16 shots rang out, and they shot him. And he fell to the ground.”
She went on to say:
“And that’s what I don’t understand is, why did it take them shooting him 16 times at least for them to bring him down? Why didn’t they bag him, knock him down, and then go and take care of whatever they needed to take care of?”
In response to the shooting, Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler said the officers were doing what they are trained to do.
“They reacted based upon the training that they’ve been given from the academy. We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm.”
This is what cops are being trained to do at the academy? Shoot teenagers with BB guns dead while their family members beg them not to? Can ‘the academy’ start training them to use tasers? How about training them to think about what they would do if it was their own child? Or maybe start teaching them some non violent self defense tactics?
Six officers and 16 bullets, for one unarmed, mentally ill kid? This is a fail. This is a case of officers having the real opportunity to do something good, to help a young man that obviously need help, but choosing to end his life by firing squad instead.
As a country we have to come together and find some kind of solution to this growing threat to the public. The police are no longer serving and protecting, they are killing our children in cold blood, without so much as an ounce of remorse.
Here’s the news report and interview with Joseph Jennings Aunt, Brandy Smith.