Sister says man shot by police needed mental help

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LAKEWOOD, Colo.- Heather Lopez, the sister of the man shot by police Thursday night in Lakewood, says that he was in need of mental help.

“He was scared,” said Heather Lopez. “He just needed somebody to tell him he was okay.”

Lopez says she just bonded her brother, Jason Waterhouse, out of jail, as he was facing assault charges against a police officer.

“I thought that you know I was doing a good thing,” Lopez said, trying to get her family together before the holidays.

Thursday, Lopez says Waterhouse barricaded himself inside her home, and started destroying the walls with a hammer.

“I didn’t want him to hurt himself, you know?” Lopez said. “It wasn’t aggressive, it was more like he was losing his mind.”

Lopez says she got a friend on the phone and they called 911.

Lakewood Police say the call came in as a crime in progress, that Waterhouse was causing a disturbance and destroying property inside the home. A spokesperson for the department says agents tried to contact the suspect for several hours.

Two hours after the call, fire and smoke were seen coming out of the home. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Lopez says Waterhouse started the fire in the stairs under the basement where he was hiding.

“Our agents made entry into the home, where they found the suspect who was armed,” said Public Information Officer John Romero Thursday night.

Lopez believes Waterhouse was armed with a hammer. Lakewood Police say Waterhouse confronted and allegedly attacked agents when they entered the smoke-filled home.

Ten first responders were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation.

Agents tried to use less lethal weapons against him, but it didn’t stop the attack, according to police.

“From there, the suspect was shot by one of our agents,” Romero said.

Lopez believes the response was too much for what should have been a mental health call.

“We don’t have a home, we have nothing,” Lopez said. “We don’t have a home and today is my brother’s birthday. He would’ve been 48 today.”

Lakewood Police say all patrol agents undergo crisis intervention training, and reiterated they tried negotiating with Waterhouse for several hours.

Lakewood Police Department, West Metro Fire Rescue and the Jefferson County Critical Incident Response Team are investigating the shooting. Per policy, the Lakewood Agent who shot the suspect will be placed on administrative leave.

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