SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — On Tuesday, Sacramento police shot and killed a man they say was wanted for attempted homicide of an officer.
Family members of Albert Wheeler say law enforcement had been looking for him for almost a month after he shot at a police cruiser. The Sacramento Police Department is not identifying Wheeler as the man who was shot and killed Tuesday.
CBS13 spoke with family members who say he had been struggling with mental illness.
“He was amazing with my kids, with my sisters, and gave them the world,” said Kara Kotko, Wheeler’s stepdaughter. “I knew something was wrong because I know him, he’s such a good man.”
His wife of 13 years, Lucretia Wheeler, says their family tried to help.
“Look what we have here. Beautiful children, grand-kids, he wasn’t mentally right,” she said.
But last month, things went south.
“He just lost it, he snapped. That’s what he did,” said Kotko.
Both federal and local investigators were looking for Wheeler since early August when they say he shot at a Sacramento police sergeant. In that incident, police say Wheeler was threatening suicide with a firearm in the 1200 block of Rivera Drive.
Then, for two hours Tuesday evening, police, SWAT and crisis negotiators surrounded a home on Wisconsin Ave., about a mile from the Wheeler family home.
Police say at one point, Wheeler told them, “I don’t want to go back to prison.”
A police helicopter spotted Wheeler running from the home and officers say he was armed with a gun. It’s not clear whether he pointed the weapon at officers. As he reportedly tried to hop a fence in the back, an officer shot Wheeler.
The family says they weren’t allowed to talk to him.
“They didn’t give us a chance, instead they did what they did and they killed him on a suicide call,” said Kotko.
The investigation into this deadly use of force is ongoing. Law Enforcement experts say even if Wheeler wasn’t pointing a gun at police, it is still the protocol to use deadly force.
Former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness says, “You have the prior conduct which graphically illustrates the intent, coupled with the firearm within his grasp. That was sufficient to show it’s not unreasonable for this course of action to be taken.”
Sacramento Police say this will be investigated under the city’s Use Of Force Protocol. They will be releasing a video of this incident within 30 days.
If someone is in crisis or feeling suicidal, they can reach a team of professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by texting the word HOPE to 916-668-iCAN (4226).