Victim's family speaks out about officer-involved shooting

Reported by: Madison Corney
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Updated: 7/13/2013 11:53 pm
Reno, NV (KRNV & -- The family of Kenny Stafford is speaking out after he was shot and killed by police after walking through a neighborhood with a gun on July 11, 2013.

Officials with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office have not yet released the name of the armed man who was shot and killed by officers on Thursday, however the victim's family reached out to News 4 to tell their story.

Kenny Stafford, 27, was an active military member who grew up in the Reno area. Stafford was stationed in Washington State, but he was in town to visit family and friends and attend a memorial for a young man he considered a brother. That young man was Ryan Connelly. Connelly, 17, was shot and killed on July 7, 2012 while walking home from the store, his murder is still unsolved.
A year and four days later, July 11, 2013 Stafford left the apartment he had been staying at in Reno, with a gun. His wife Aimee called 911, she says, "I was just trying to get him some help, I pleaded with them not to hurt him, because he was sick and then they took him."

Stafford's wife described her 911 call, "He's sick, He needs help. Please don't  hurt him. Please don't kill him. Please take him somewhere where he can get  some help."

Authorities say Stafford was suicidal, but his family says he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the unsolved murder of Ryan Connelly had taken a toll on him.

According to Washoe County Officials, while officers were attempting to negotiate with Stafford, officers opened fire. Authorities have not said what prompted police to shoot him, that's still under investigation.

Ryan Connelly's mother, Deana says she was near the scene when shots were fired along with Stafford's mom, wife and sister. They say they were pleading with officers to let them talk to him.

"They didn't care that she was his mom, they didn't care to find out who he was as an individual, he was just a black man with a gun," says Connelly's mother.

Stafford's mom and his wife say they understand that the officers had to protect themselves, but they can't comprehend why they killed him, "Why did they shoot to kill, when they knew he had PTSD?"

Stafford's wife is asking the same thing, "Why couldn't they use non lethal force? They didn't have to kill him. They knew he was sick."

Stafford leaves behind many loved ones, including three young daughters, "He supported me and he's been there for my children everyday of their life and now they don't have him anymore."

A group of friends who consider themselves family are now mourning the loss of another son, "I loved him like my own, and now I'm without both of them. It's just heartbreaking."

This officer-involved shooting is still under investigation and the officers involved were put on routine administrative leave.
27 Comment(s)
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MarkH - 9/23/2013 10:11 PM
0 Votes
renojim and you know what a hero is???? hmmm what uniform did you wear? And just who do you think keep those birds in the air, oh I know it is centrifugal force or is it you think the pilot works on them.. Sorry man, he is as much a hero as those who pilot them, if you do not believe me, just ask the pilot of one

kealii08 - 7/23/2013 3:27 AM
0 Votes
I get that we all have the right to say what we want, when we want but choose your words wisely. Karma is a Biatch. Speaking such horrible things about the dead are shameful. You did not know this man or this family. This man,. along with our other service members past and present are the ones who have given you the right to speak what ever it is you like. Don't abuse it. When I read comments like these, it reminds me the kind of world we live in. A hateful and hurtful one where a family can not even grieve in peace without people being nosey and speaking ill of the dead. I will be the first to say I am not as tactful as Aimee is. I hope all of you burn in hell for what you have said about this family and this American Soldier who was murdered.

kealii08 - 7/23/2013 3:18 AM
0 Votes
where do I begin? 1st of all, those of yall who are speaking ill of the dead are cowards and I hope yall burn in hell for the comments you guys are making about a man and his family that you do not know. 2nd, I knew this family. This is of the strongest most loving families that you could ever meet. 3rd, not a war hero? Here is what I have to say about that, Shut the f*** up. My husband is a soldier and was stationed at Ft.Hood the same time Kenny was. Deployed the same time also. And you wanna know what makes a hero, a single person joining the military to defend our country. What makes a hero is coming home alive. Making it through hell and back, that is what makes a hero. 4th, My favorite, the Race Card. Guess what geniuses this is America, everyone plays the race card. And we use the race card because its true. Someone is more likely to shoot a man of color than a man that is not. Statistics have proven that theory. 5th, Protecting the people? Who in the hell was he pointing a gun at and threatening? NO ONE. Last time I checked, he has the right to walk down he street with a gun just as I am and anyone with a license is. 6th, PTSD, Over half of my family has served at some level and with all branches. My husband is Active duty and so is my brother and they both have PTSD. My brothers wife just got out after ten years. PTSD is a serious problem an it is a hard one to over come. I deal with it on a daily basis with my husband. It took over a year after coming home from Iraq before he could sleep. This 4th of July he would jump every time he heard a fire work go off outside. It is not something that goes away ever. It is a disease you have to live with for the rest of your life. You have to learn to live with it and try not to let it get the best of you. Kenny was having a hard time with the loss of his brother and dealing with PTSD, he was not running around the town trying to pull a Columbine. Those cops should have known better. Shame on them and shame on yall.

renojim - 7/18/2013 8:22 PM
1 Vote
War hero??? He was a helicopter mechanic who never saw combat.

DaveAsh - 7/18/2013 3:25 PM
1 Vote
According to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, police are NOT OBLIGATED to protect the public. The court declared that there is "no duty to protect" citizens.

Paladin - 7/18/2013 9:32 AM
0 Votes
I appreciate the grief that many writers like JessicaC and Salsaawi are displaying, but the reality of it is: When a person is running around in public with a gun making threats the police are OBLIGATED to protect the public. That is their FIRST priority and what we pay our police to do. If the police did not act to stop this person and he went into an apartment in the complex and killed a family of six this blog chain would be talking about how inept the police were and why they failed to act to protect the dead family. There are NO winners in these suicide by cop situations. And why wasn't the wife allowed into the situation? Because often times that makes it worse and further excites or angers the subject into lashing out with violence. If he did and she was killed, of course the police would be blamed for letting her into a dangerous situation and getting her killed. For the poice it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

Salsaawi - 7/17/2013 5:10 PM
0 Votes
This was a war Hero who suffered from PTSD, his wife wanted to approach him and talk to him, why was this not allowed, please don't judge the dead, the police department own this family a through investigation with all the facts, and remember the family witness what happened. Dam time cops learn to deal with SM with.PTSD.

JessicaC - 7/17/2013 9:32 AM
0 Votes
Kenny is DEAD! I do not think anyone, except his family, has the right to discuss anything more than that fact. It's easy to write someone off as this or that, but three beautiful girls lost there Daddy- if you have ever witnessed the way they looked up to him and adored him, you would be speechless. A wife lost her soul mate. A Mother lost her baby boy. So many of us lost a friend that would do anything to help a stranger. Our country lost a soldier who fought so you all continue to have the right to freedom of speech, and unfortunately some of you are using it to slander his name. This event was a tragic end to a beautiful life. I pray the family receives justice and closure to help them heal and that this shines more light on those with PTSD and people start demanding more services to prevent another death. I hope that law enforcement agencies find new methods for dealing with the public, this cannot be the answer to anymore calls for help.

welcome - 7/15/2013 10:49 PM
0 Votes
sorry for the last comment. But what I want to say is I feel sorry to all involved. but once you throw the race card out there (that is all they seen was a black man with a gun) makes me not even care what so ever now. I live close to this area and I felt so bad for this family up until that point now I just want to throw the tv every time I hear about this and honestly it is sad that I feel like this and that many feel this way now just because that women had to go ahead and make it about race.

welcome - 7/15/2013 10:40 PM
0 Votes

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