The sister of the knife-wielding Lancaster, Pa., man shot dead by a cop said Monday that he was bipolar, schizophrenic and off his medications — and that she was just trying to get mental-health aid when she called authorities.
“He had an episode. He was just incoherent and acting out,” Rulennis Munoz, 33, told Lancaster Online of her 27-year-old kid brother, Ricardo Munoz.
Police said in a Sunday press release on the incident that, “The caller related that her brother was reportedly becoming aggressive with his mother and was attempting to break into her house.”
But Rulennis Munoz said that she only phoned a local crisis intervention group and a nonemergency police number.
“I called to find out what the procedure was to get him some help,” she told Lancaster Online.
When a cop arrived at the Munozes’ mother’s home around 4:25 p.m., Ricardo Munoz burst through the front door and charged at the lawman, holding the knife aloft, bodycam video shows.
Dozens took to the streets of Lancaster, with some among them vandalizing cop cars, busting windows and lighting fires en route to a local police station, where cops launched tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Rulennis Munoz — who was not at her mother’s home at the time of the shooting and said her brother had visited her earlier in the day — told Lancaster Online that the family had been trying to get help for Ricardo Munoz for years.
“He was a sweetheart. He cared,” she said, noting that he first began displaying symptoms of mental illness about 10 years ago while attending college.
He was ultimately diagnosed with and treated for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia but hadn’t been taking his medications, Rulennis said.
In March 2019, Ricardo allegedly slashed and stabbed two men, a woman and a 16-year-old boy in a Lancaster home after he was beaten up outside the house, according to police.
When cops arrived to that call, he was holding a knife to his own throat and had to be Tasered.
Munoz was charged with four counts of felony assault and that case was ongoing, with Munoz free on $1 million bail, according to court records.
The shooting comes in the wake of two recent high-profile run-ins between police and mentally ill subjects in New York.
In March, Rochester cops handcuffed Daniel Prude, placed a mesh “spit hood” over his head and pressed his face into the ground until he stopped breathing, a case that only recently grabbed headlines with the release of new video of the incident.
Prude was left brain-dead and died a week later. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide.
On Saturday, cops shot and critically injured an unstable Buffalo man who attacked an officer with a baseball bat.