LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The family of Ricardo Munoz told abc27 they were calling for help before he was killed by Lancaster police for charging with a knife.
“I didn’t need my brother to be dead,” said Deborah Munoz, Ricardo’s sister. “I needed for him to get mental help.”
In an interview with the Munoz family on Monday, they said made the call since the 27-year-old was struggling with his mental health. Deborah Munoz told abc27 that their calls for crisis intervention were directed to the police.
“A person with mental issues, they’re not going to be acting rationally,” she said.
Miguelina Pena, Ricardo’s mother, said her son was acting out and off his medication before police arrived at their home.
The fatal shooting of Munoz was caught on a police body camera, which showed Munoz charging at a police officer with a knife over his head.
“It looks bad on the video that he barged at them like that to the police officer, but he had his problems which were paranoid schizophrenia,” said Pena, speaking using Deborah as a translator. “We don’t know what was going through his head. A normal person would not do something like that.”
The Munoz family told abc27 that police were called to the Laurel Street home before, and the family said police knew Ricardo had mental health problems which is why they questioned the reason police shot him.
“There’s a million different scenarios where they could have shot him and not killed him — to take the knife away,” Deborah Munoz said. “Aren’t the police trained for that?”
In 2019, police tased Munoz to get a knife from him when he reportedly stabbed four people.
Munoz’s family say they want justice for Ricardo.
“This police officer needs to pay for his crime because he committed a crime [against] a boy with mental health issues,” said Victor Fernandez, Ricardo’s step-father.
“We don’t want this to happen to somebody else,” Deborah Munoz said. “There are many people out there with problems, mental problems.”
abc27 reached out to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office — which is leading the investigation into the shooting. A spokesman for the office said due to the ongoing nature of the investigation they couldn’t comment.
The Munoz family told abc27 they didn’t support violent protests that started to take shape in the city following Ricardo’s death.