The Denver Police Department is confronting a community outcry over the shooting death of a mentally disabled teen. Paul Childs, 15, was shot to death Saturday by police in the doorway of his mother’s home as he held a kitchen knife, sparking cries of excessive force and racism. He is believed to be the youngest person shot and killed by Denver police. “I want to know why they shot my baby,” said Paul’s mother, Helen Childs. “I told that officer, ‘Don’t shoot!’ and he shot and killed him anyway.”
Police Chief Gerry Whitman declined to comment on details of the incident, including how far the officer was standing from Childs when the shooting occurred. Paul’s 16-year-old sister, Ashley, called 911 and told the dispatcher that Paul is following her and her mother with a kitchen knife. The information was relayed to police arriving on scene. Ashley said she was cut off before she could explain Paul’s disability. Family members said the knife was “the dullest in the house” and “couldn’t cut a tomato.”
Helen Childs called for legislators to create a “Paul’s Law” to would provide better training for police officers to deal with mental health patients and stiffer penalties for improper use of force.