FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas -- Prayers and a mother’s pain echoed outside the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Thursday where dozens of people gathered to protest the fatal shooting of a suicidal man.
“No one’s mother should have to feel like this,” said Kimberly Olaniyi, who lost her son on Monday.
Olaniyi said she called 911 for help when Michael Blair, a 26-year-old schizophrenic, barricaded himself in the bathroom with a knife.
“I just wanted him to come out of the bathroom but not in a body bag,” Olaniyi said.
When deputies confronted the man, they said he lunged at them with a knife. Then deputies used their tasers but they said Blair continued to approach. That’s when one deputy opened fire fatally shooting Blair.
“My baby was shot 11 times,” Olaniyi said. “He was only one inch taller than me and he only weighed 135. That was too much.”
And so with signs held aloft, Blair’s supporters demanded that the sheriff’s office install a mental health crisis team.
“You do not kill people because they are mentally ill,” said activist Quanell X. “You don’t kill them unless your life is absolutely on the line.”
The shooting is still under investigation. The deputy involved remains on administrative leave with pay. Sheriff’s officials hope to have a crisis intervention team in place, sometime soon.
“We’ve been working on that for several years,” said PIO Bob Haenel. “We finally have funding and we are in the process of activating a crisis intervention team.”
But the development comes too late to satisfy a grieving mom.
“You didn’t call for your child to die when you’re calling for help for them,” Olaniyi said.