Mother says standoff gunman struggled with mental health

Christopher Harris was shot and killed by TPD officers during a standoff
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 7:18 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The mother of the gunman who killed Officer Brandon Stalker and then was shot and killed by police on Monday says her son, Christopher Harris was dealing with mental illness but refused to get any help.

“Chris was a good kid. I know that officer was a good kid. He was just doing his duty. He wasn’t supposed to die that night. My boy wasn’t supposed to die that night,” said Crystal Harris.

Harris is devastated over the tragic events that unfolded. During the standoff, police say Christopher Harris came out of his home with two guns shooting at police.

“I kept pleading to the officers ‘Can you let me in that door so I could talk to my son myself?’ Even though I know he had mental challenges, I know he wouldn’t hurt me. I know my son wouldn’t hurt me,” said Harris.

The mother says Christopher had an associate’s degree, he was a loving man and spent a lot of time studying his Bible.

“He knew that there was something wrong. He was battling with it, but in his eyes, if he kept reading and studying his word, he would get through it,” said Harris.

She says his crisis took him over the edge. The mother says two families are grieving and somehow this community must heal.

“We are not going to change our faith because of what has happened. We are going to continue to pray for both my son and that Officer. They both lost their lives yesterday. It wasn’t fair on both ends,” said Harris.

“We understand everything that they’re going through also. Both were young men. Both had their whole lives ahead of them,” said Alfred Dailey.

Harris’ mother says mental illness can manifest in so many ways.

“Awareness is real. If you have a young black man in the neighborhood, any man in the neighborhood -- I’m not even going to put a color on it -- if you see signs, you reach out. I reached out, but maybe somebody will hear and help,” said Harris.

The family plans to hold a vigil for Christopher Harris on Wednesday.

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