LODI -- Dozens of people concerned about the killing of Army veteran Parminder Singh Shergill by police in January packed a City Council meeting Wednesday night to ask questions and call for better training of officers in dealing with mentally ill people.
Six members of the group spoke to the council during the session’s public comment period.
Among other things, the speakers called for the city to fund intensive Crisis Intervention Team training for Lodi officers.
“It has been more than three months” since the shooting, in which Shergill was killed as he walked back to his family’s home, said Palbinder Kaur. “How has the city and the Police Department responded?”
Shergill, who family members said suffered from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder related to his military service in the Gulf War, had left home in an agitated state on the morning he was killed. His relatives called police for help, as they had in the past, and two officers encountered him minutes later.
Police said Shergill charged officers with a knife, forcing them to open fire. Earlier this week they released a photo of the utility knife that officers said he was carrying, along with a transcript of the 911 call made from his home to police the morning of the shooting.
Relatives said Wednesday that the information did not answer their questions about why police shot Shergill 14 times, and they questioned the accuracy of the materials released by police.
“We need the whole truth about what happened on Jan. 25,” said his sister Kulbinder Sohota, including autopsy reports and witness statements.
Police Chief Mark Helms said those items will be released upon completion of a comprehensive investigation by multiple agencies.
The shooting has roiled Lodi, members of its Sikh community and friends and neighbors of Shergill’s family.
Delight Zimak, a family friend, said the killing has shaken her and other residents.
She asked why officers involved in the shooting were back at work within a week, and what kind of counseling they received.
“It does not make me warm and fuzzy to know that they are back in service.”
Lodi’s interim city manager, Stephen Schwabauer, said the council would be unable to answer questions about the shooting Wednesday because the matter was not on the agenda.
He encouraged speakers to make an appointment with city staff to discuss the matter.
Nirmal Sohota, Shergill’s brother-in-law, left the meeting discouraged.
“I have deep concerns about the handling of this matter,” he said. “We got selective information, and it raises more questions than it answers.”
Call The Bee’s Cynthia Hubert, (916) 321-1082. Follow her on Twitter @Cynthia_Hubert.