GRANDVIEW, Mo. — The wife of a man shot and killed by a Grandview police officer Sunday night tells 41 Action News her husband was having a medical emergency when he walked out of their home holding up a sword.
"They could have tried a little harder to help him, not just shoot as if he was a threat," Jessie San Nicolas said.
She called 911 because her husband, 60-year-old Larry San Nicolas, was throwing things in the air and acting erratically. He suffered from diabetes, and according to his son, he couldn't always afford his medication.
"My dad, he's too proud to take our money, to help him pay for his insulin," Frank Arcero said.
The family reached out to Grandview police because officers had been able to subdue San Nicolas once before during a medical episode. The outcome was much different this time.
When Grandview police arrived Sunday night, Jessie, Frank and the rest of the family were standing across the street. Five of Larry's grandchildren, one as young as six-years-old, looked on as he was fatally shot.
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"I saw the first hit into his stomach, and then he staggered forward and was falling down, and they were still shooting him," Jessie San Nicolas said through sobs.
The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating the shooting and said officers fired two beanbag rounds before shooting Larry San Nicolas. A video captured by witnesses shows him stagger sideways after being hit with the non-lethal rounds.
Two witnesses also told 41 Action News that the officer who shot San Nicolas was crying before being taken away from the scene.
"They responded heroically, as well as compassionately in order to attempt to save this individual's life," Sgt. Bill Lowe said Sunday.
41 Action News reached out to the Grandview Police Department to learn more about the training officers receive for medical calls.
According to Sergeant Dean Van Winkle, officers must:
- Attend 600 hours of state law enforcement training, which includes medical first responder training.
- Attend a basic 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training within their first year of service.
The department also offers monthly continuing education training for sworn officers.
"Any training course which includes use of force has a built-in de-escalation component. To supplement these physical courses, each sworn officer and dispatcher receives monthly online training covering a wide range of topics, also including response to mental health crisis and de-escalation," the spokesman added.
San Nicolas' family and friends believe other steps could have been taken to de-escalate the situation on Sunday.
They remember San Nicolas as an extremely generous, welcoming man.
"A real friend...and I don't mean somebody you just meet on a street. I mean a real friend, and his family, they're real people. Just good people," Neighbor Mark Cable said.
Brothers Jose and Juan Carlos Solis live across the street from the family and said Larry San Nicolas would frequently check on their children while they were at work. He was also known for grilling out every day and sharing the food with neighbors.
"All the neighbors loved him. He was a really great person," Jose Solis said.
It's those memories that Jessie San Nicolas is holding on to after the events of Sunday night. She's also left wondering what other steps could have been taken to avoid the outcome.
"I couldn't even say I love you right by his side," she said through tears.
The family is hosting a memorial gathering for San Nicolas at their house on Saturday at 4 p.m.