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Family of man shot by police on Sunday asking why mental health services didn’t respond to 911 call



NEW YORK — A man is in critical condition after being shot by police in the Bronx over the weekend.

But his family says he’s mentally ill and they didn’t get the help they asked for when they called 911.

CBS2 has more on the response to mental health calls in the city.

“We heartbroken right now,” Raul De La Cruz’s sister said Monday.

De La Cruz, 42, is a father, works at a factory and loves to preach.

“He has a history of schizophrenia and mental health issues. He has been hospitalized before,” the sister said.


She said he was having an episode on Sunday morning.

“We just tried to get help. My father called and he was trying to get help for him to take him to the hospital to medicate him,” the sister said.

Police say when they arrived to his Bronx apartment building on Grand Concourse, De La Cruz had a knife.

“At this time, the subject comes out, clearly becomes agitated, receives the officers [commands], drops a bag, produces a large kitchen knife, and starts advancing towards the officers,” NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said.

Officials say responding officers then fired several rounds at De La Cruz — his family says three bullets hit him. He was then rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

“He’s a person who’s sick and needs help,” his sister said.

In 2021, the city rolled out a program called B-HEARD — short for the Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division — where paramedics and social workers respond to mental health emergencies, instead of police. It is being expanded to all precincts in the city.


The city says B-HEARD crews have responded to thousands of 911 calls regarding emotionally disturbed New Yorkers since the program began.

“If the patient is non-threatening, and it’s a non-emergency situation, then they’ll bring them over to us,” said Charles Madras of The Samaritan Daytop Village.

The Samaritan Daytop Village is one of the support and connection centers in the Bronx that has partnered with the city to take in patients, including from B-HEARD response teams.

But CBS2 has learned mental health workers did not respond to the De La Cruz’s 911 call on Sunday.

“They’re treating him like he’s a criminal. He’s a person who is sick and needs help,” De La Cruz’s sister said.

It’s still unclear why mental health workers didn’t respond to the family’s 911 call.

In the meantime, police say they are reviewing body-camera footage.


Source: CBS

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