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Terrence Coleman, 31
Boston, Massachusetts
October 30, 2016

Agencies: Boston Police Department Massachusetts

Last updated: 8 months ago

Overview Help icon

Police shot and killed a man after he armed himself with a knife and attempt to stab emergency personnel who were trying to help him in Boston’s South End late overnight Saturday, officials said.

Boston EMS and Boston police responded to a Shawmut Avenue apartment after a mother called 911 reporting her emotionally disturbed 31-year-old son was out of control.

Police said the man was suffering from paranoia and schizophrenia. While trying to help the man, a struggle ensued and the man armed himself with a knife. Police said the man tried to stab the EMTs, who called for help while fighting with the man.

Officers ran in to assist, and police said the man swung repeatedly at the officers and EMTs as they struggled to get the knife away.

Police said they were faced with a lethal force situation and after failed attempts to disarm the man, they fired their weapons. The man was taken to an area hospital where was later pronounced dead.

"Unfortunately it turned ugly," Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. "The officers intervened. They tried to disarm, and unfortunately, he just kept coming at the officers and it left them no choice right now."

EMTs and police officers were treated for head and back injuries suffered during the struggle.

The district attorney’s office will take over the investigation.

But Hope Coleman said her son did not come at the EMTs or police with a knife. She claims the officers burst into her apartment and shot her son Terrence after an EMT raised his voice because her son did not want to go to the hospital.

“They just burst in and knocked me down and my son down and I heard a gunshot,” Coleman said. “He did not have a knife. That’s not true and I am glad I was there because I would be believing that.”

Legal Action Help icon

On April 4, 2018, Coleman's mother filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city of failing to properly train officers on how to deal with people with mental illnesses.