DETROIT (FOX 2) - A mentally ill man was shot and killed by Detroit police early Sunday morning. Now, the family of 20-year-old Porter Burks wants answers on why officers killed him instead of getting him the help he needs.
"That’s a pain you would never be able to heal; my sister is hurting. We are hurting. You know he had a mental health issue. You’ve dealt with him before. Why would you kill him," said Michelle Wilson, Porter's aunt.
The family says they called 911 Saturday night and Sunday morning because Burks had a knife. The family says Burks didn't attack them.
"Just to send EMS out so that they could get him back to mental treatment, that’s all we just wanted him to get back to the mental treatment," said Damondo Anderson, Porter’s brother.
Detroit Police Chief James White says his officers found Burks with a knife on Snowden near Lyndon on Detroit's west side.
A witness tells FOX 2 that the officers tried de-escalating and asked Burks to put the knife down.
Chief White says his officers deployed a taser— but it didn't stop Burks. The witness says Burks then charged at officers--who shot and killed him.
Chief White says it's early in the investigation, and their department is committed to transparency.
"Porter loves to dance. He always smiled. He had some challenges he was dealing with his mental health issues. Detroit needs to help people that have health issues, not take them away from us," Michelle said.