Family: Man fatally shot by Tulsa police officers was off medication

A black man who was fatally shot by three Oklahoma law enforcement officers had stopped taking medication in April to treat a bipolar disorder and was in declining mental health since the recent death of his father, members of his family said Saturday.

The mother, brother and two sisters of 29-year-old Joshua Barre told The Associated Press in interviews that authorities could have tried other means to restrain him before shooting because they knew about his mental condition since May 31, when members of the sheriff’s mental health unit received an order to pick him up for an evaluation.

Barre’s mother, Etta, said deputies also had ample time to call for backup Friday as they followed him while he walked more than 10 blocks from his rental house to the convenience store where he was eventually shot.

“They had plenty of time,” Etta Barre said. “They knew he had a history (of mental illness).”

As Barre entered the store, authorities say that two Tulsa County sheriff’s deputies and a police officer opened fire when they saw that he was carrying two large knives and became concerned about the safety of the people inside.

A one-minute video clip captured by the store’s surveillance camera and released by police late Friday shows a barefoot and shirtless Barre, wearing a winter beanie cap, push the door open, clutching both butcher knives in his right hand.

“It’s not like he was out to hurt someone. The knives were pointed down when he walks in the store,” said Joshua’s 20-year-old brother, Jordan, who gathered with grieving family members Saturday at Etta Barre’s house on the north side of town.