THE San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office says that two Lodi police officers acted reasonably to protect themselves when they opened fire on Army vet Parminder Singh Shergill, 43, on January 25 in Lodi, about 90 miles east of San Francisco.
The Sacramento Bee newspaper said this week that the report on the incident states: “Once Shergill turned towards the officers, facing Cpl. Bratton, Shergill’s action elevated his threat level. … Given Shergill’s height and distance from the officers, it is reasonable to believe that Shergill would have covered the distance in a matter of seconds.”
The officers fired 14 bullets into Shergill’s body.
The newspaper said that according to the report the officers had to take the following into consideration as they went after Shergill: He was off his medications and acting erratically; they had been told he assaulted his mother that morning; he had military experience; he was carrying a knife and heading back toward his family’s home.
Shergill’s family has said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after participating in Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s, according to the media.
Kulbinder Sohota, Shergill’s sister, told the newspaper that she was devastated by the DA’s decision not to prosecute the officers and said the family will pursue a federal civil rights lawsuit that alleges that the two police officers were improperly trained as to how to respond to people with mental illness, and that they killed Shergill without good cause.
The media also reported that the family’s attorney said witnesses saw no knife in Shergill’s hand, and he didn’t charge at the officers. He said everyone in the neighborhood knew him as a kind and gentle man.
The officers had responded to a 911 call made by Shergill’s sister-in-law in which she told a 911 dispatcher that Shergill was a paranoid schizophrenic who was going crazy and was attacking her mother-in-law inside the house.
One media report said that the 911 call released by police included “my brother in law, paranoid schizophrenic and he’s going crazy. He’s yelling, he’s attacking my mother in law.” Another recording contained a radio call by an officer: “He has a knife in his right hand, he’s refusing my commands.” Just after that, Shergill was shot and killed.