Witnesses and cops gave various accounts of what happened in the 30 minutes from when cops arrived at Henry’s house in Ogontz until her son was shot dead shortly before noon.
Did 23-year-old Jason Henry lunge at police with a 14-inch butcher knife, giving an officer no choice but to shoot, as the police claim? Or was Henry simply trying to regain his composure after being stunned by a Taser gun, as witnesses claim?
The only thing cops and witnesses agree on is that Henry began throwing sharp objects — including a knife and a drill — out of a window at officers when they arrived at his home on 19th Street near 69th Avenue.
The NAACP said it would investigate.
“There was no gun found, so there was no need for deadly force,” said NAACP lawyer Angelo L. Cameron, who was contacted by the Henry family.
Police said the drama began about 11:20 a.m., when cops arrived in response to a call from Henry’s mother. About 20 minutes later, police determined that he had barricaded himself inside.
Henry then emerged from the house armed with a 14-inch butcher knife and officers stunned him with a Taser, police said.
“The male was initially disabled and additional officers went to place him in custody but the male got up, still armed with the knife, and charged towards the first officer,” said police spokesman Capt. Benjamin Naish.
That officer deflected Henry, who then went toward a second officer with the knife, Naish said. A brief struggle ensued and the second officer shot Henry “multiple times” in the torso, said Naish, who added that the weapon was recovered.
Police would not comment on the number of shots fired, but witnesses said it was seven to eight.
Henry was pronounced dead at 3:04 p.m. at Albert Einstein Medical Center.
Some witnesses said that Henry was on the ground, recovering from the stun, when he was shot.
Henry’s brother, Craig, said he had persuaded his brother to come out of the house via cell phone by telling him, “They got the house surrounded.”
“He came outside. They hit him with two [Taser shots],” Craig Henry said, contradicting police accounts that only one Taser stun was used. “He went down and he balled up.”
Michael Jordan, a neighbor, said Henry looked as though he might have been trying to regain his composure when police “shot him seven times.”
“There was enough cops there to subdue him,” Jordan said. “They shot him while he was on the ground.”
Lawrence McCrea, another witness, said it appeared that Henry was surrendering when he was shot.
“The guy was coming out of the house with his hands up. I didn’t see no weapon,” McCrea said. “They shot him with a Taser and he fell. He got up, disoriented, and fell towards a cop. They shot him seven times.”