52-year-old having mental episode killed by Jersey Police, Mayor stands by use of force

A lengthy list of unanswered questions linger on Randolph Avenue in Jersey City Monday.

"Why the SWAT was called, why they needed to enter when they did, why they needed to go when the family was pleading with them not to use guns," questioned Marcello Pacheco, a neighbor to 52-year-old Jerome Washington, who was shot and killed by Jersey City police Sunday. 

A neighbor who lives right next door to Washington could see everything happen from the front window of his home where he watched Sundays deadly turn of events begin as a welfare check for the man having a mental episode while family members who live just down the block were outside with the police. 

"I was upstairs at the top of my stairs at 328 I heard two shots fired very quickly. A couple of minutes later I watched them pull his body out of the house, but I’m not sure he was quite dead yet," said Washington’s next door neighbor. 

The neighbor says Washington was no stranger to police presence at his home due to similar instances before that were resolved but this time, a different outcome. 

Jersey City’s Mayor after reviewing officer body-worm cam footage quickly spoke in defense of those officers.

He says around 2:20 p.m. Sunday the call came in from Jersey City medics already on scene, and they deemed it unsafe to enter or engage with Washington.

8 minutes later, Jersey police arrived and engaged with Washington for nearly an hour and around 3:30 p.m. 

"They entered and they were charged by Mr. Washington with a knife in hand and they used force deploying both a firearm and a taser," Fulup told reporters.


NYC crime: Man stabbed in stomach inside Midtown Target

The stabbing happened just before 2 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Washington’s family didn’t want to go on camera but call the narrative shared by authorities both inaccurate and premature while the case remains under a separate investigation as their neighbors consider Sunday’s deadly shooting wrongful.

"Of course I do, of course I do. No one who has mental illness deserves that. They just needed to find somebody, find an outlet to calm him down," one explained.

New Jersey’s office of Attorney General identified the officers involved in that shooting as Felix DeJesus and Stephen Gigante.

City officials tell FOX 5 both officers were trained to deal with people experiencing an emotional crisis. 

The body-worn camera footage is under review by the state AG’s office while city officials are hopeful the attorney general will release the footage as soon as possible.

DeJesus deployed a Conducted Energy Device, or stun gun and Stephen Gigante discharged his service weapon, hitting Mr. Washington twice.

A city leaders call for a prompt release of the body-worn camera footage, a prayer vigil is set in Washington’s honor for Tuesday at 6 p.m.