Police: Jacksonville officer shot, killed man who approached with knife

Family members say mentally ill man needed help, didn't deserve to die

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 52-year-old man was shot and killed by an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Saturday afternoon after the man approached the officer with a knife, deputies said. 

The man identified was Harold Kraai, and the incident happened right outside of the family's home.

Police said they gave Kraai multiple orders to put the knife down.

Family members said they don't care what happened because Kraai should be alive. 

Jessica Jordan, Kraai's niece, called her uncle a "gentle giant" who battled schizophrenia.

"You don't shoot a mentally ill person," Jordan said. "You talk to them."

The JSO said officers responding about 10 a.m. to a home on Avery Drive about a man having a mental episode.

"Family members told 911 operators that the person in the home was breaking things and damaged a car," JSO Chief of Investigations Chris Butler said.  "While police were responding to that call, the individual himself called 911 and told the operator that he no longer waited to live."

Butler said the first officer on the scene saw the man on the front porch with a knife. The man approached the officer with the knife in his hand and ignored commands to drop the weapon, so the officer shot him. He died after being taken to the hospital.

No Jacksonville officers were hurt in the incident. Butler said the name of the officer who fired the shot will be released Sunday.

Jacqulie Waver, Kraai's mother, said she placed the call to police for help with her mentally ill son after he became violent and smashed her car window.

"All I wanted was some help with my son," Waver said. "That’s all I wanted was some help."

Waver said police could have used other ways to control her son.

"They could’ve done other methods," Waver said. "They’ve dealt with Harold for years."

Waver said her son has been mentally ill for years and and recently suffered head trauma from a car accident.

Jordan said is planning a peaceful protest in honor of her uncle who she call's "Bert."

She and other family members have no words to describe their feelings.

"We're very upset about this," Jordan said. 

Police will review the use of deadly force by the officer to determine if it was justified.

JSO will hold a press briefing on Sunday to update who the officer is and talk about what's next in the investigation.

"We receive training in academy on how to deal with people with mental illness as well as when we’re on scene," Butler said. "We also have to remember we have an individual armed with knife who’s a threat to the officer as well as bystanders  in the area."

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