Family, friends seek justice for man killed by Wayne officer during mental health crisis

A rally was held in honor of a man who was killed by a Wayne officer while suffering a mental health episode last week.

Family and friends were joined by dozens of protesters, making their voices heard outside police headquarters Monday night.

"Enough is enough!" the crowd chanted. "Hey hey, ho ho – these killer cops have got to go."

The man shot and killed by the officer is 40-year-old John Zook Jr.

On Tuesday, June 18, police said Zook called 911 on himself and informed the operator that he was in the midst of a mental health crisis and was off his medications. When officers arrived, they found Zook in distress and armed with a kitchen knife.

Zook's 4-year-old son was inside the residence when the incident took place at Newberry Square Apartments on Newberry Street and Michigan Avenue. Police also said that Zook had cut himself several times in a suicide attempt.

Wayne Police Deputy Chief Finley Carter previously told FOX 2 that officers made multiple unsuccessful attempts to get Zook to drop the knife.

"The officers did give him several verbal commands and attempted two… taser deployments that were ineffective," Carter said. "The subject then charged towards the officers, in which one officer responded by firing several shots, which stopped him at the time."

However, Zook's family believes that the 40-year-old father did not charge at police. Instead, he was tased after answering his apartment door and was shocked by the number of officers present. 

He was shot six times, according to the family.

"We have so much gun violence – whether it’s by the police, or by people," said Brooks Edwards, who would have been Zook’s mother-in-law. "I think they could have did a better job, because six shots to kill somebody? That’s not how you resolve issues, and I don’t think that cop took time –it was less than two minutes– you did not have time to de-escalate, talk or do whatever," 

The Wayne officer who fired the shots was placed on administrative leave as Michigan State Police handles the investigation. Those protesting say they want the name of the officer.

"I’m very just disappointed in the Wayne Police Department, because they could have actually shot my grand-baby," Edwards said.

In the meantime, family and friends of Zook, and family say they also want the body-worn camera footage to be released as soon as possible. 

A petition was created by the family to "require all police departments to be expertly equipped for mental health crises." To sign the petition, click here.

A GoFundMe was also created to support Zook's 4-year-old baby and the mother of his child. Donations can be made here.

FOX 2 reached out to Wayne police for an update but did not receive a response as of Monday night.