An unarmed, mentally ill teenager could be heard yelling, “I’ve got a gun!” in a 911 call made by his mother before police arrived and killed him in a 20-bullet barrage, according to a transcript of the call released by police Tuesday.
Five officers opened fire after Kheil Coppin, 18, ignored warnings and suddenly charged them outside his mother’s home with a black object in his hand, police officials said. The object turned out to be a hairbrush.
Officers received the 911 call from the teen’s exasperated mother around 7 p.m. Monday, police spokesman Paul Browne said.
She had attempted to have the teen, who had a history of mental illness, hospitalized earlier in the day, Browne said.
Son told 911 operator he had a gun
According to the transcript, while the emergency operator took down the Brooklyn address, a male voice was overhead in the background, saying, “I got a gun and I’m gonna shoot you,” and, “I’ve got a (expletive) gun!”
The mother told the operator, “This ... you know ... this kid is a problem. You can even hear him?”
The operator: “Who is that?”
The mother: “That’s supposed to be my son!”
When officers arrived at the home, they could see Coppin pacing inside, police said. His mother was outside.
The teen began screaming from a first-floor window at his mother and officers before climbing out of the apartment window and crossing a sidewalk toward the officers while holding the hairbrush in his hand, police said.
The officers backed up and ordered him to stop, Browne said. When the teen refused and kept approaching them, they began shooting, he said.
Police said it was not immediately known how many of the 20 bullets struck Coppin, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Neighbor: The boy didn't respond to police
A neighbor, Bernice Sanders, said she looked out her window Monday night after hearing the police order someone to “Get down!” She described seeing officers with their guns drawn, taking cover behind a car.
“The boy did not respond to them,” she said. “Next thing, gunshots, ‘Boom, boom, boom.’ The young boy is laying on the ground.”
The killing of an unarmed victim in a hail of police gunfire evoked memories of previous high-profile incidents in New York: the 50-bullet barrage that killed the unarmed Sean Bell on his wedding day in November 2006 and the 1999 killing of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was hit by 19 of the 41 shots fired by police in the Bronx.
Members of the victim’s family planned to speak out about the shooting Tuesday at a news conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch was quick to come to the officers’ defense.
“This is an unfortunate situation where the deceased convinced everyone involved — from family members to responding officers — that he was in possession of a gun,” Lynch said. “Tragically, he sought and succeeded in forcing a deadly confrontation with police.”