Justin Way's live-in girlfriend, Kaitlyn Christine Lyons, called police on May 11 when she found him drinking a bottle of vodka and lying in bed with a knife.
During the call, which was posted by The Florida Times Union, Lyons claimed that Way, 28, had threatened to kill himself, had lost his job and was drinking in his St. Augustine, Florida, condo.
Lyons also said, "I can tell you for a fact that he won't hurt me."
Lyons told The Daily Beast, "The only person Justin threatened was himself and I honestly don’t think he wanted to die."
She says she thought Way would be "Baker Acted" — involuntary institutionalized — and police could begin the process.
Two St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies, armed with assault rifles, showed up Way's condominium and had Lyons wait outside.
"I thought they were going into war," Lyons said.
Moments later, Way was shot dead by Deputies Jonas Carballosa and Kyle Braig.
Detective Mike Smith gave an incident report to George Way, Justin's father, which claimed Way attacked the deputies.
George said Smith told him that his son had threatened Lyons, which Lyons has denied.
Denise Way, Justin's mother, claims Smith told her, "(The deputies) told Justin to drop the knife and he didn’t, so they shot him because that’s what we do."
Denise added that Smith informed her of a "new trend in law enforcement now, it’s called suicide by cop," which is when suicidal people supposedly provoke the police into killing them, releasing the police from liability.
George believes his son was killed while he was still in his bed because blood only appeared on the mattress, which had a bullet hole.
"If Justin was coming after them with a knife, at 6-foot-4, wouldn’t there be blood splattered all over the room?" George stated.
George claimed his adult son was a recovering alcoholic, hadn't had a drink for five weeks, but had recently lost his job and suffered a relapse.
The Daily Beast asked St. Johns County Sheriff's Office spokesman Commander Chuck Mulligan if it was normal procedure to to answer a suicide call with assault rifles, instead of mental health professionals.
“If the deputies feel that that is the appropriate weapon system to use, then yes,” Mulligan replied.
Lyons countered, "I think they should come in using other things. And I think they definitely need to figure out how to handle suicidal people.”
"Obviously both deputies felt threatened," Mulligan told The St. Augustine Record.
"They were confronted with an individual who had a large knife," Mulligan stated to First Coast News.
There have been few details released about the shooting. Mulligan says there may be more information released in the future.
The St. Augustine Record notes, "Police officers involved in shootings can’t be compelled to give a statement before consulting with their union representatives, as is the case in Way’s death."
Sources: The Daily Beast, The St. Augustine Record, First Coast News, The Florida Times Union
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