Man shot 22 times by police was having mental breakdown, family says

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 11:37 AM CST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG/Gray News) - New details in a deadly Toledo Police shooting were released Wednesday night as the victim’s family recounted the moments leading up to the shooting.

Toledo police officers shot and killed a man they say was a domestic violence suspect after he allegedly pointed a gun at officers Wednesday morning. The Lucas County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 47-year-old Jason Means.

The report from the deputy coroner said Means suffered 22 gunshot wounds, which included shots to the head, torso, left arm, and both legs. The coroner said he died of multiple gunshot wounds and ruled his death a homicide.

Means’ girlfriend, Nicole Rahmel, recounted moments leading up to the shooting with WTVG. Rahmel and Means’ family said he suffered from mental health issues.

“He panicked and he came outside, and he started patrolling the property. When they are in psychosis, you can’t communicate with them,” Rahmel said.

Rahmel said she gave Means some space, but the situation escalated, shocking not only her but also her son.

“I went upstairs, and a couple minutes later I heard a loud thud. I thought it was a door that just slamming into the wall and when I went out the door, I could smell gun smoke. I grab my son, and we went to my bedroom, and we barricade the door because we didn’t know and I could hear him yelling through the house,” she said.

Rahmel said Means thought there were “home invaders” trying to harm his family.

“He thought there was home invaders in there to harm us. So he was going through the house trying to find these people,” Rahmel said.

But there was no one else in the house. Rahmel said she and her 20-year-old son stayed quiet.

“He started to shoot at the door because he couldn’t get through it. I called 911, and we immediately went out the window and sat on the roof,” Rahmel said.

Rahmel said she told dispatchers she was not hurt.

“She asked me if anybody was hurt, anyone been hit, I said ‘No’. She asked, ‘Has he hurt anybody,’ I said ‘No.’ I said, ‘All he’s trying to do is protect his family, and he just doesn’t understand what’s going on,’” Rahmel said.

Rahmel said police had already arrived when the 47-year-old man went back outside. She believes Means “lost it” when police started yelling at him.

“And he wouldn’t put his gun down because he thought they were trying to attack him. He just wanted to protect his family,” she said.

Rahmel claims she yelled out to the officers, telling them again that Means was having a mental breakdown.

“He’s non-responsive, please do not use lethal force, I said, ‘Please do not use lethal force on him,’ and it happened so fast. Next thing I know, they all fired on him,” she said.

The officers who fired their weapons will be placed on paid administrative leave per collective bargaining agreements. Toledo Police said the involved officers’ information and body camera footage will be released during a press conference on Friday.