The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred in McKinney on Monday.
Police with the McKinney Police Department (MPD) responded to a call about a man “making suicidal threats and self-harming with a knife” in a parking lot in the 700 block of Bumpass Street.
“Upon contact, the subject ignored multiple commands to drop the weapon, while continuing to make suicidal threats. As Officers attempted to de-escalate the situation, the man charged them with the knife, ignoring commands to stop. Officers fired their weapons, striking the subject,” MPD said in a statement posted to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
The man was identified by authorities as 37-year-old Sidney Dotson. He had reportedly been released from prison just weeks earlier and had stopped taking prescribed medication for bipolar schizophrenia.
“I’m very confused because I called for help for him. I called for help. I told dispatch 911 that he was a mental patient. He was having a mental breakdown and if she could send some help,” said Dotson’s sister, Marlo Griffin, speaking with NBC 5 DFW. “I even went to the gate and met the police officers and told them that he had a mental problem and he was having a mental breakdown, that he just needed help.”
MPD said that the officers involved in the shooting took life-saving measures until EMTs arrived. Dotson was transported to a local hospital. He died from his injuries.
“I tried everything I could to get him some help, but it was a time process. But, it still [gave] them no right, no right to come out here and shoot him seven, eight times,” Griffin told NBC 5.
Still, Tarleton University criminologist Alex Del Carmen told the news outlet that he thought the shooting was justified.
“The idea that you can shoot someone in the legs or use a baton or maybe hand-to-hand combat, all of these things are great in Hollywood,” Del Carmen said, per NBC 5. “But in real life, when somebody’s coming at you with a knife, a knife can kill you. … Once the officer sees that person coming at him, there’s really no other option except to use lethal force, unless the officer is willing to perhaps be injured in the process, risk the lives of other officers or bystanders, and tell the story from a hospital bed if at all.”
Texas Rangers will be investigating the shooting. The two officers involved in the incident are reportedly on leave pending a resolution to the investigation.
North Texas has seen its share of violent crime in recent years. In Dallas, where aggravated assaults and robberies have been on the decline, the Dallas Police Department has been struggling to keep murders down amid a significant staffing shortage. The department currently maintains a force of fewer than 3,200 sworn personnel. A City report previously recommended that Dallas needs about 4,000 officers on staff.
Downtown Dallas has been affected by the police shortage, consistently logging higher crime rates than Fort Worth’s downtown area. The latter is reportedly patrolled by a special neighborhood police unit and private security officers.