NYC cops spot black man holding a shower nozzle -- and instantly kill him in a hail of gunfire
Saheed Vassell

Police shot and killed a mentally ill Brooklyn father holding a shower nozzle -- and his family said officers never gave him a chance to surrender.


Officers were called Wednesday evening to Crown Heights to investigate reports by three 911 callers of a man in a brown jacket pointing a silver gun at people, reported WPIX-TV.

They found 34-year-old Saheed Vassell at the scene, and four officers fired 10 shots at the man after police said he "took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed an object at the approaching officers."

That object turned out to be a piece of plumbing.

Police said video evidence backs their claims, but Vassell's family said officers opened fire instantly.

“They have witnesses around here that say they did not tell him to drop anything," said his aunt, Nora Ford. "They said the police guy just pull around, and started shooting at him, and I'm very, very upset.”

One witness said he knew Vassell, who he described as "crazy" but generally harmless.

"Why you shooting so many times?" said witness Jesus Santiago, who was about five feet away from the officers. "The first few shot was in the head. For me, he was dead right there."

Santiago said police never asked Vassell, who has a 15-year-old son, to drop the item in his hand.

The shooting remains under investigation.