NORFOLK -- Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith addressed the media Monday about three recent officer-involved shootings.
On May 30, 29-year-old James Brown went on a shooting rampage, shooting and killing Officer Brian Jones. Officer Curtis Allison was hurt seriously. Brown also shot and killed 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez. A third officer eventually shot and killed Brown that night.
Three dead including officer, 17-year-old and suspect in Norfolk shooting incidents
On June 4, police were trying to take Lawrence Faine into emergency custody at Calvary Towers on East Virginia Beach Boulevard. The department said Faine was shot and killed after he threatened an officer with a knife.
Update: Man dies in officer-involved shooting in Norfolk
Two days later, police were called to a home where they say David Latham was threatening his brother with a knife. Latham was shot and killed by a Norfolk police officer. Chief Goldsmith said the caller told dispatch that Latham was “mentally disturbed.”
Police identify person shot to death after threatening officer
Goldsmith said Monday, other than what’s provided to dispatch, police have no way of identifying a person as “mentally ill” when responding to calls.
“Many times our officers get a call that merely says 'mental subject' and we don’t have any real idea what that constitutes. The officer is forced into a situation of having to try and do some type of assessment when they get on scene,” said Goldsmith.
The department is working to improve how they respond to cases dealing with people with mental illnesses, he said.
“The Norfolk Police Department is currently working with our Community Services Board to implement the Crisis Intervention Team Model to further assist us with dealing with the mentally ill. This effort was in progress prior to the incidents of last week and we will continue this effort until we develop a model that best serves our community,” said Goldsmith.
Officers have responded to several calls with little incidents, Goldsmith pointed out.
In last nine days, NPD has responded to 76 weapon calls, 36 mental health calls, and 24 violent domestic calls -- all resolved with little incident.
Since 2011, NPD has responded to 7900 psychiatric calls. In 2014, officers responded to 990 psychiatric calls.
“CSB members teach crisis intervention to every officer in our police academy our officers receive instructions on handling the mentally ill and verbal communication skills," said Goldsmith.
He would not comment on whether deadly force used by his officers was justified in the two most recent cases, but he said knives are considered deadly weapons and that he will stand by his officers.
The two most recent cases are still under investigation. Once complete, they will be turned over to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, who will review the actions of the officers involved.