Victim's family speaks out about officer-involved shooting

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.
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