PERTH AMBOY — Police who shot and killed a mentally ill city resident Wednesday afternoon may have been called by the man’s mother, who wanted police to escort her son to a facility where he was obtaining treatment.
Dixon Rodriguez, 32, was shot and killed outside his home on Hall Avenue after police said he attacked two officers with a knife.
The shooting occurred shortly after police were dispatched at 1:18 p.m. Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew Carey said Wednesday that police were dispatched to the scene following a 911 call, but declined to elaborate.
On Thursday, a cousin of Rodriguez said his mom had called police to ask that they escort Rodriguez to a mental health treatment facility where he was a patient.
Sandra Tobar, of the Sewaren section of Woodbridge, said her cousin suffered from emotional issues and was developmentally disabled, but was a nonviolent person. She said the family does not believe Carey’s version of events, which he said Wednesday was based on surveillance footage obtained by investigators.
“Police officers know him. The whole block knows him. I never thought this would have unfolded,” Tobar said. “He was very nonconfrontational. Something is not adding up.”
The local incident is the second fatal police-involved shooting in Middlesex County in as many months and at least the fifth fatal police shooting in the state this year, according to published reports.
Last month 28-year-old Andrew Murnieks, who suffered from schizophrenia, was shot and killed by the Middlesex County Special Operations Response Team after a four-hour standoff at his South Brunswick home.
This is the first police shooting here since 2007, according to use-of-force reports obtained by the Home News Tribune. That year, police shot five bullets at a gunman who opened fire on a residential street, killing a woman and injuring three others. The gunman died after turning the gun on himself.