LOVELAND, Colo. — Over a dozen people gathered outside the Loveland Municipal Building Sunday morning to demand change and justice after police shot 19-year-old Alexander Domina last Monday night.
"You have to be the change you want to see, " said Jen Castaneda, one of the organizers of Sunday's rally. "You have to be that change and that’s what I chose to do."
The shooting is under investigation by the 8th Judicial Critical Incident Response Teams (CIRT). Fort Collins Police Services is the lead agency in the investigation. In their latest release on August 19, CIRT said police responded to a call from one of Alex's family members who said he was having a "mental health crisis and actively damaging the home."
Castaneda and other speakers at Sunday's rally demanded more resources to respond to mental health-related calls for police assistance specifically.
"We shouldn’t expect them to be mental health professionals, but rather have a dispatch where a mental health professional can actually be dispatched to a situation and evaluated," Castaneda said.
She pointed to Denver's STAR model and said she would like to see the program move to Loveland.
The CIRT release said Domina was in his backyard with a knife when police arrived.
"A confrontation occurred, during which Domina moved forward and the officer fired his duty weapon," said the release.
Police have not clarified what happened during the confrontation that led to the shooting.
"There is no doubt that there needs to be severe training and overhaul in this department, and it may well be that they are not the appropriate first responders when there are mental health calls," said Mari Newman, the civil rights lawyer representing the Domina family. "If Loveland’s got mental health officers available to respond to calls, they need to start using them, this was clearly a mental health call from the inception, Alex’ s grandmother made that clear when she called," she added.
9NEWS reached out to the Loveland Police Department to find out if the department had any trained mental health professionals and, if so, how many and if they responded to this call last Monday. We have not heard back, but Castaneda said she is aware of a co-responder program within the department.
"That program isn’t working and, in the past, our Loveland police department really hasn’t utilized it that frequently," she said. "I’m shocked and horrified that this is happening in our city and it’s hard to believe that it’s gonna continue to happen because leaders are not taking the proper actions needed to change it."
Newman said Domina's family is just hoping he can pull through. She said his condition is "touch and go," and he has already had three surgeries. His fourth arm surgery has been rescheduled due to his condition but hopes it will happen sometime Sunday.
"This community is entitled to be as outraged as they are," Newman said. "For the community to not be able to trust that their own police department is going to provide them with help when they call 911 is absolutely petrifying."
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