Mother of Israel Andino Says She Was Not Stabbed by Son
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“She feels destroyed inside, because this is something that she feels that they shouldn't have done," said Julio Cruz.
On the same city street where neighbors know each others’ names and look out for one another's children, Carmen Baez's oldest son was shot and killed by seven Rochester police officers.
"I went inside my house and I brought a sheet and I asked them in Jesus name, would you please cover him up, give him dignity,” said Margarita Hernandez, neighbor.
Israel Andino was killed on his 20th birthday. His mother said he was bipolar, and was having a really bad day.
Andino's longtime pastor and mentor health advocate, Julio Cruz, was comforting Baez when we arrived. He interpreted our interview.
Andino called 911 around 7 a.m. Thursday. He told dispatch he stabbed his mother and planned to shoot others in the neighborhood.
Police reiterated Andino's words at a news conference, but Baez said she was never stabbed.
"On the news they’re saying he stabbed me. You can see, that’s not true, he never stabbed me. He pushed me. He hit me, and then he apologized to me before he ran off. He said he was sorry mom, he did this. And he ran off and the police came and she told them he has mental health problems,” Baez said.
Police say Andino was armed with a loaded shotgun. They say they tried to taze him but it didn't work. Police say they only fired at Andino after he fired at them.
Baez believes the shooting could've been avoided minutes earlier at Emerson Market.
"She said, they didn't take him there. She said, why did they wait for him to move? She said he was sitting at Emerson Market, he had the gun on his lap and he was hitting his head,” said Cruz. “She said why didn't they grab him at that moment and disarm him?”
Like Baez, her Locust Street neighbors have more questions than answers, and emotions quickly turn from anger to grief.
Baez says she's praying someone will conduct a thorough and honest investigation. Police say all evidence will be turned over to the District Attorney's office for review.
"I need justice to be done for my child; because I feel what was done to my child was unjustifiable for me. They never tried to talk him down.”