ABSECON, N.J. (CBS) — We are hearing from the mother of a man who was shot by police outside a store in Atlantic County. She believes the shooting was unjustified.
Absecon police opened fire on the 700 block of South New Road on Tuesday.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Searching For Suspect Accused Of Fatally Shooting 77-Year-Old Man In Juniata
CBS3 spoke with the suspect’s mother at the Dollar General where her son was shot by police. She says it’s a miracle her son survived.
She and her family want a full and transparent investigation.
“I heard pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” said Kim Whitted, the victim’s mother.
Whitted described the heartbreaking moment she arrived at Dollar General on New South Road to find police officers shooting her son, 37-year-old Jalial Whitted.
“I just said, ‘Don’t shoot him. Please stop shooting. He has a mental illness,'” Whitted said.
Whitted says her son has schizophrenia and was acting strangely that day. She says police should have responded to his mental health crisis with compassion, not force.READ MORE: Montgomery County Officer Grazed By Bullet During Philly’s 4th Of July Fireworks Feels ‘Lucky’ To Walk Away From Incident
“Then when they lifted him, they tussled him, putting the handcuffs on him. I said, ‘Why are you putting the handcuffs on him? He can’t move,'” Whitted said.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office paints a different picture of what happened that day.
Officials say Whitted pulled out a gun and discharged one round inside the store, sending employees running for cover.
Police say once outside the store, Whitted refused police commands and reached for a weapon in his front pocket, forcing officers to shoot around 10 o’clock Tuesday morning.
Officials say Whitted is in stable condition at the hospital, but the family disputes that, saying he’s in critical condition.
The National Action Network is now getting involved to make sure Whitted’s civil rights weren’t violated.
“If the police is the first responder, if they cannot deal with a situation and just put the gun out, then they should be having someone work with them who has the experience and knows how to deal with these types of issues,” said Steven Young, South Jersey chapter president of the National Action Network.MORE NEWS: PHL Airport Receiving $24 Million In Federal Funding For Terminal Improvements
The Dollar General has been closed ever since the shooting. There is no word when it will reopen.