JERSEY CITY, N.J. (PIX11) — So many people showed up for a vigil that Randolf Street was shut down – neighbors came onto their porches to show support. Family members and friends came out in droves, demanding justice for 52-year-old Andrew Jerome Washington.
“Another officer came to me, and then he said, I’m sorry to tell you he’s dead,” said Washington’s aunt Doris Toni Ervin.
Ervin said she did all the right things Sunday to help her nephew during a mental health episode – calling crisis centers to no avail. Jersey City police and EMS responded instead, eventually forcing entry into Washington’s home. Williams was shot twice – and died at Jersey City Medical Center.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said the use of force was justified.
“Andrew charges at him with a knife, very, very close proximity. You’re talking about a matter of feet. And, of course, they released the taser and at the same time a firearm,” Fulop said.
But at a vigil Tuesday night, family and friends said Washington was not a threat to anyone but himself – and want to know why one officer reached for a stun gun and the other – a service weapon.
Drew’s family described the 52-year-old as a good friend, a good person – who suffered from a mental illness.
The NAACP and the National Action Network have pledged to help the family in any way they can because this was an officer-involved shooting. The state Attorney General’s office is now investigating.