A mentally ill cousin of TLC singer Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins has been killed by police after being shot 18 times outside of his home.
Law enforcement in Peoria, Illinois claimed the 25-year-old was captured on surveillance footage committing armed robbery at the First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust and then fled.
After a two-hour stand-off, Special Response Team officers shot Eddie Russell Jr. after he emerged from his mother’s West Sheffield house ‘and aggressively advanced toward them with a handgun.’
The shooting happened last Wednesday since which time Watkins has called for mandatory police body-cams.
Outraged: Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins has called for mandatory police body-cams after the Peoria Police shot and killed her cousin Eddie Russell Jr. 18 times outside his home last Wednesday
Excessive force? The 47-year-old R&B belter questioned how Eddie was shot in the back of his head if he was ‘aggressively advancing’ and accused police of lying to his family
T-Boz calls out Peoria Police Department and their alleged mishandling of the situation, stating officers clearly used excessive force on a man they knew had mental health issues
Meanwhile, the Peoria Police Department have placed the six officers who fired their weapons on ‘critical incident leave.’
Outraged at the excessive force, the 47-year-old R&B star questioned how her cousin came to be shot in the back of his head if he was ‘aggressively advancing’ and she has accused the police police of lying to his family.
‘Now the question is did he have a gun? You tell me because I’ve never seen a gun like that before,’ T-Boz – who boasts 1.9M social media followers tweeted surveillance images on Sunday.
‘It Should Be MANDATORY THAT EVERY COP WEARS A BODY CAM That Way No He Said She Said Bulls*** & LIES CAN HAPPEN (sic).’
In a lengthy Instagram post, Watkins posted exactly what she knew about the incident and the police response.
‘My Cousin Was Shot 18 Times Including the Face and Back of His Head! He Harmed NO ONE EVER! He Had Mental Health Issues AND THE COPS KNEW THAT! Anything he’s ever Done Was minor and NON VIOLENT!
On Twitter, Watkins defended her cousin, writing that police ‘used’ his mother to get Russell Jr. to leave his home and when she called him out, they opened fire.
‘The cops told his mother to call him out on a bullhorn saying ‘WE WILL GIVE HIM THE HELP HE NEEDS’ and He Came Out Because He Heard His Mother and They used beyond excessive force to gun him down also with heavy artillery used in warfare! 18 times? Shot eighteen times???’
Crime scene: Law enforcement claimed the mentally-ill 25-year-old was captured on surveillance footage committing armed robbery at the First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust
Two-hour stand-off: The Peoria Police Department have since placed the six officers who fired their weapons on ‘critical incident leave’
Watkins goes onto question why there was no footage of the incident from either the police or nearby residents: ‘They blocked everyone off including neighbors at a 4 block radius including his mother and father and family!People could NOT go home! So no camera phones accessible is that why? COPS DIDN’T HAVE ON BODY CAMS now isn’t that convenient!’
‘They Lied and told family members Eddie Jr was at the hospital to get them away from the house knowing he was dead outside the house where they killed him! They kept his BODY OUTSIDE ON THE GROUND FOR MANY MANY HOURS! First they reported he ran out shooting =LIES! Then one cop shot =LIES! Then 5-6 shots =LIES! Then 5-6 cops shot YEAH CLEARLY! But why SO MANY TIMES? Why THE AR15?’
They didn’t even wait for the negotiator to arrive or is it that the negotiator took his time getting there? They haven’t Even Gave my cousin the RESPECT of trying to call and explain WHAT HAPPENED IN DETAIL TO HER CHILD! He needs JUSTICE! His Mother and Father and Family need JUSTICE!!!! This wasn’t a hostage situation! He didn’t threaten anyone’s life! This was a mentally iLL young man who needed help and should have received just that!’
T-Boz shared surveillance images on Sunday and tweeted: ‘Now the question is did he have a gun? You tell me because I’ve never seen a gun like that before’
The Days of Our Lives actress wrote: ‘It Should Be MANDATORY THAT EVERY COP WEARS A BODY CAM That Way No He Said She Said Bulls*** & LIES CAN HAPPEN (sic)’
The RnB star went on a lengthy twitter rant as she aired her doubts over the police’s response
Watkins is best known as one-third of the R&B/hip-hop girl group TLC, which sold over 65M records sold worldwide in their nineties heyday.
Tionne and Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas kept the trio going after Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes died, age 30, from a 2002 car accident in Honduras.
The incident took place on Wednesday at about 12:49 p.m. when officers responded to a bank robbery. Police say Russell Jr. headed toward a residential area, before being identified by police through a bank surveillance video.
When police located Russell Jr., they say they attempted to contact him for over two hours, before activating a special response team to the scene.
At about 3:46 p.m., Russell Jr. emerged from his home when officers shot him between 17 and 20 times, according to the department’s release.
Russell Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say the handgun he carried matched the same one that was used during the bank robbery.
According to the New York Daily News, he had just been released from a mental health facility shortly before he was killed, and his father had tried to ask police to let him inside to talk to his son, but he was told no.
‘They could have tased him from 30 feet away,’ father Eddie Russell, Sr., told the Peoria Journal Star hours after the shooting. ‘But they grabbed him out of the house. I don’t care what they say.’
Book tour: Watkins is best known as one-third of the R&B/hip-hop girl group TLC, which sold over 65M records sold worldwide in their nineties heyday