Updated: March 14, 2021 11:17 PM
Created: March 14, 2021 10:13 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The family of Tyshon Jones say they want to set the record straight on exactly who he was, and what he meant to them. On Sunday, they gathered outside of Spiritus Christi Church to speak publicly for the first time.
Besides remembering Tyshon, his family and supporters continue to push for changes in the way police deal with people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
"My grandson's crime was, he had a mental issue. He had a mental issue," said his grandmother.
Tyshon Jones's grandmother, his parents, a few dozen relatives, and local activists all gathered together at the Church to remember the 29-year old Jones. Tyshon was shot,and killed by police last Wednesday morning during an armed confrontation. His mother Kennetha Short said Sunday Tyshon was a deeply religious person.
"His life was based on God," said Short. She continued, "He read the Bible multiple time daily. He prayed multiple times daily."
Short said she refuses to watch the police body-worn camera video of the encounter Tyshon had with Rochester Police. She said those 36-minutes do not reflect who her son was.
"Tyshon was an honor roll student. Tyshon was self-driven. Tyshon was part of the youth department at churches. Tyshon was a role model to some," said Short.
Tyshon's great-grandmother died on Dec. 26th. His grandmother on March 1. Short said she was buried just hours before he suffered a mental health crisis, saying the pressure for him was just too much to handle.
"My son was struggling with the loss of matriarchs of his family. He was struggling. He was crying out for pain. He was crying out, and he will never ever walk through my door again," said Short.
Spiritus Christi Church Rev. Myra Brown, a cousin of Tyshon, said the Pastor's Roundtable had recently submitted a proposal calling for a change in the way police respond to mental health calls in Black and Brown communities. She detailed one change they would like to see.
"50-percent of those officers to be Black to these mental health crises in our community to ensure that our children are safe and that their humanity can be seen. We want the Black officers to be put in charge on the ground. They're the ones who should be giving the orders," said Brown.
Funeral services for Tyshon are scheduled for later this week.
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