When a 23-year-old autistic man carrying a toy truck wandered from a mental health center out into the street Monday, a worker there named Charles Kinsey went to retrieve him.
A few minutes later the autistic man was still sitting cross-legged blocking the roadway while playing with the small, rectangular white toy. And Kinsey was prone on the ground next to him — a rifle bullet fired by a police officer having struck his leg.
North Miami Police said the incident began Monday when someone called 911 and said there was a man walking around with a gun threatening suicide. Kinsey told WSVN TV the man was his patient and the alleged gun was a toy truck, which he said was clearly visible to police. “I was really more worried about him than myself. I was thinking as long as I have my hands up … they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking, they’re not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.”
In a prepared statement, North Miami police spokeswoman Natalie Buissereth said “arriving officers attempted to negotiate with the two men on the scene, one of whom was later identified as suffering from autism... At some point during the on-scene negotiation, one of the responding officers discharged his weapon.”
Police still hadn’t released any paperwork or the incident report of the shooting by Wednesday, the Miami Herald reports.
On Thursday, North Miami Police Chief Gary C. Eugene and U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson held a press conference regarding the shooting. “We have witness statements that there was a gun,” said Eugene. “We had a 911 call with that same information. However, I want to make it clear there was no gun recovered.”