Family pleads for answers after Detroit police shoot and kill man armed with knife

A 20-year-old man is dead and a family is pleading for answers after he was shot by Detroit police after allegedly charging at them with a knife. 

Police said the man who was identified as Porter Burks of Detroit was experiencing a ‘mental episode’ when his family called for law enforcement help after saying he was armed with a knife. 

But when police arrived at a residence in the area of Snowden and Lyndon on Detroit's west side, Burks charged at them after they tried to de-escalate the situation. Police responded by shooting and killing him.

Burks' brother Damondo Anderson said the family was trying to get his sibling mental treatment and discovering the 20-year-old with a knife and calling 911 on Saturday night and later Sunday morning.

"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 Anderson.

According to Detroit Police Chief James White, officers responded to an apartment in the Littlefield neighborhood around 5 a.m. for reports of a person with a knife who was experiencing some kind of mental crisis.

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When police arrived, a witness told FOX 2 the officers had asked Burks to drop the knife. They eventually deployed a taser, but it failed to have an effect. The witness then charged at the officers, who shot and killed him.

It's unclear how many officers responded or how many shots were fired. 

"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.

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White said the department will be reviewing footage of the event and the incidents that led up to the deadly shooting. 

"Got a policy - we're looking at who deployed the weapon, who deployed the taser, the body cameras, the witnesses, and all the cameras we have in the area," White said.