Brooklyn family disputes NYPD's claim of how emotionally-disturbed man died

CANARSIE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A man died after he was shot by police Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

Officers were called to a home on East 99th Street in Canarsie to a report of an emotionally-disturbed person around 9:30 p.m. The Rev. Daisy Wright said she called for an ambulance for her brother, 63-year-old James Owens, but police arrived first. She and her family then watched as Owens was fatally shot.

Authorities say a man emerged from a back room and grabbed a 13-inch knife from the kitchen, and that he approached officers and ignored orders to drop the weapon. The family disputes those claims.

"I was right there when it happened," Rev. Wright said. "He went off and so he picked up a knife, and they didn't ask him one time to drop the knife. They didn't try to talk him down. They shot him."

One officer reportedly tasered the man, which failed to stop him. They say Owens kept coming toward them with the knife, prompting the second officer to open fire.

"It looks like the taser didn't make contact with the skin, and that's why it wasn't effective," NYPD Chief of Patrol Terrence Monahan said. "The male continued to advance (on) the officers with the knife, and a second officer discharged his firearm three times, striking the male."

Owens' brother John Owens, who was also there, disputed the events as described by police.

"He got shot before he was tasered," he said. "They tasered him while he was on the ground."

The investigation is ongoing.

"We're investigating," Monahan said. "We are interviewing the detectives, all of them. We have not heard that."

Owens was shot in the chest and was rushed in critical condition to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Officers recovered a knife at the scene.

No police officers were injured.
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