Grandmother of man shot, killed by police in Brockton says he was schizophrenic

BROCKTON, MASS. (WHDH) - The heartbroken grandmother of a man who was shot and killed by police in Brockton on Friday says her grandson was “a great kid” with a “big heart” and was battling schizophrenia.

Barbara Calabro, the grandmother of Christopher Calabro, 25, who was shot after allegedly threatening Brockton police officers with a knife, said her grandson had been staying at a group home for those suffering from mental health issues. She also said he didn’t want to hurt anyone other than himself.

“He was a great kid, big heart, loved his family,” Calabro told 7News. “He was guilty of having a mental health issue.”

Barbara said she doesn’t blame police officers for opening fire.

“There were all signs of a suicide that was going to happen,” she said, “and we couldn’t save him.”

Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruz said Calabro was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital and later transferred to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he was pronounced dead.

Prior to the shooting, Barbara said her grandson called his mom, telling her he wanted to die.

A crisis intervention team responded to the group home he was staying at, but it escalated to him grabbing a knife and walking out. He was confronted by police soon after, she said.

“We know he had six bullets in him and I’m sure it was a very scary situation,” Barbara said. “He was determined that he was crazy and he wasn’t going to get the help he needed and he wasn’t going to go back into the hospital.”

Calabro was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 18 years old and spent years in and out of mental health facilities, she said, adding that it is now her mission to help reform the system.

“I know they need help and they need to get to these people sooner,” she said. “That’s what me and my daughter are talking about working on.”

Cruz has requested an independent review of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Cape Cod and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe will conduct that review.

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