Family says they called Dept. of Mental Health for help with son before police fatally shot him

The family of 40-year-old Yong Yang said he suffered from a mental illness and were calling for assistance.

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Friday, May 10, 2024
Dept. of Mental Health was called before fatal police shooting: Family
They claim the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health spent less than two minutes with 40-year-old Yong Yang before calling police.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The family of a man who was shot and killed by police in the Koreatown area is pushing for a full investigation, saying the people who were supposed to help him killed him.

The shooting happened on May 2 at the family's home on South Gramercy Drive.

The family said they made a routine call for mental health assistance for 40-year-old Yong Yang. They claim the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health spent less than two minutes with Yang and then called the police.

"We tried to do everything right to get him help," said Yang's mother, Myung Sook Yang, who held back tears during a press conference on Thursday. "We called the Department of Mental Health, and instead of helping him, they invited the police into our home and they shot and killed him."

According to the family's attorney, Robert Sheahen, Yang had been diagnosed as "bipolar with a schizo-effective disorder."

Surveillance images provided by the family shows at least nine officers arriving at the home. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department identified the officer involved in the shooting as Officer Andres Lopez.

The family said within minutes, Yang was shot in the family's living room. Sheahen said it appears officers tried to hide evidence.

"They kept the parents away from the dead son and they cleaned up the apartment," said Sheahen. "They spent hour after hour sanitizing a crime scene. Any rookie officer knows that this is obstruction of justice and you can't do it."

Last week, after the shooting, detectives said Yang was "armed with a large kitchen knife."

"When the officers arrived to the area of the call, they met with the suspect, only described as a male in his 40s, who was armed with a knife," LAPD Sgt. Bruce Borihanh told reporters at the scene that day.

LAPD said it will not comment any further on the case.

"You don't expect for your child to be shot," said Alison Triessl, one of the family's attorneys. "You don't expect for the police coming heavy handed. You just want help for them."

The family is now asking for a full investigation by Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Mayor Karen Bass released a statement, saying "My thoughts are with the family, loved ones and Koreatown community mourning the loss of Yong Yang. A full investigation is underway to ensure transparency and accountability for this tragedy and protocols used when responding to this incident must also be reviewed."