BOSTON (CBS) – The sister of a man shot and killed by police on a Boston footbridge Friday says her brother had mental issues, and officers should not have taken his life.
Olga Santiago told WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod that her brother, Santos Laboy, had spent most of the last 21 years in prison.
Massachusetts State Police say troopers, along with Boston University police, were running after Laboy Friday afternoon in the area of the Esplanade on Storrow Drive when he pulled out a knife.
After Laboy allegedly threatened a trooper, he was shot multiple times and died on the Silber footbridge.
“They killed my brother. They knew that he had issues with mental problems and they still killed them,” Santiago said. “The knife was in his hand, yes. I can understand if they go to him to shoot him. But shoot him somewhere else. Why kill him? They killed my brother. They shot him four times.”
Laboy has a lengthy criminal history, including an incident from 2009 involving a samurai sword.
Santiago says her brother initially threatened her with the sword that day in 2009, but eventually began wielding it at officers, begging them to kill him.
Instead he was taken down with non-lethal force and arrested.
According to Santiago, she made up with her brother since that incident. She adds, however, that Laboy rebuffed family suggestions to stick with his mental health treatments.
“The system is not working. People that come out of jail all the time are getting harassed and beat up by the police out here. They need to stop and give them help. Help them. Don’t kill them,” Santiago said.
Sources told WBZ-TV that Boston University police were seeking Laboy for allegedly leaving explicit pictures of himself at a laundromat near the campus multiple times in recent weeks. The suspect would then allegedly follow up with lewd phone calls to the business.
Santiago said she was surprised to learn that her brother may have been the person police were looking for in that case.
“We had no idea about this. We didn’t even know. We had no idea that was my brother,” she said.
Laboy worked in construction, Santiago said, and spent most of his time exercising.
On Friday, Laboy was working out on equipment on the Esplanade when the confrontation with police began.
Though Santiago didn’t deny that her brother may have wanted police to kill him, she added that if that were the case, officers still should have shown restraint.
“But if he did, why would you give him his wish? Do not take the person down without knowing what is happening inside. He was hurting and they took him down like an animal,” said Santiago.