PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) — Another police-involved shooting happened in Paterson. This time, it was the police who fired the shots at around 12:30 p.m. on Friday, according to officials.
Najee Seabrooks, 31, was fatally shot following a two-hour standoff inside his apartment on Mill Street. Seabrooks was a member of the violence intervention organization, “Paterson Healing Collective.”
“I’m extremely heartbroken because I personally knew Najee,” said Zellie Thomas, an organizer of BLM in Paterson. “He was an activist in the city who was trying to end gun violence in the city.”
Thomas confirmed what several people familiar with the incident told PIX11 News: that Seabrooks was experiencing a mental health crisis.
“That’s what I believe – that when he barricaded himself, he was in distress. Police responded with negotiators to try to bring him out safe. But it took another route,” said Paterson Councilmember Luis Velez. “Paterson is Paterson, and this could happen anywhere in the states.”
The Paterson Healing Collective released a statement, saying, “It is deeply distressing to hear that, in the midst of a mental health crisis, Najee’s team, his family, was not allowed to do the work they were trained to do. When he needed his community the most, he was denied the help he required, and the police response failed him.”