The mother of a Phoenix man who was shot and killed by police Thursday questioned why officers had to shoot her son, whom she said was troubled and in need of help.
“I didn’t call them for them to kill my son. I called them to help me help him,” Lorenza Valdez, mother of Francisco Valdez, told The Arizona Republic on Friday evening.
Lorenza Valdez spoke to a reporter at the west Phoenix home where 24-year-old Francisco Valdez was fatally shot by police a day earlier. She said her son was battling depression, bipolar disorder and drug use.
Valdez said she called police after a conversation, hoping to get her son help. Police said she had called to report that Francisco Valdez was becoming aggressive during an argument with her other son.
Lorenza Valdez said there was no argument and that her younger son had left the home. Police confirmed the brother was not there when officers arrived at the Western Acres mobile-home park near 65th Avenue and Van Buren Street about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
She said she wanted to get help for her son, whether it be rehabilitation or jail to keep him from drugs or from harming himself. After the call, a Spanish-speaking officer arrived, Valdez said in Spanish.
As they began to talk outside about what was going on, two other officers arrived went inside to speak to her son, Valdez said.
After several minutes, she heard gunshots. The younger officer would not let her go inside and he rushed in, she said.
Phoenix police said Friday that Francisco Valdez was speaking with officers and “suddenly ran to the kitchen, armed himself with a knife and charged toward one of the officers.”
As that officer attempted to retreat, he fell over a couch, police said. As Valdez approached him again, a second officer shot the man, police said.
Lorenza Valdez questioned how her son could have obtained a knife, saying she doesn’t keep them handy because she feared Francisco Valdez might use one to harm himself. She said her son had attempted to do so in the past.
Rocio Marquez, a neighbor who was outside the home when the shooting occurred, rushed to find Lorenza Valdez’s other son, Jorge, who was in another part of the mobile-home park.
“I told him, ‘Jorge, go with your mom,’ ” Marquez said.
After Lorenza Valdez called 911, but before officers arrived, she asked her neighbor, Luz Enriquez, whether she had done the right thing. Enriquez agreed it was the right thing to do because police could help him.
“It’s not fair what they did,” Luz Enriquez said. “She asked for help and they came and killed him.”
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