Police Fatally Shoot Man Having Bipolar Episode

(Cupventi.com) – In Los Angeles’ Koreatown, a family’s call for mental health assistance ended in tragedy when police shot and killed Yong Yang, a 40-year-old man diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The incident, captured on newly released bodycam footage, has raised questions about police response to mental health crises.

On the morning of the shooting, Yong Yang’s parents, Myung Sook and Min Yang, contacted the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health because their son was experiencing a severe episode. Mental health professionals from the county’s Psychiatric Mobile Response Team arrived but eventually called the police for help. Moments later, police officers arrived at the scene.

The bodycam video shows officers demanding that Yang drop a knife he was holding. Within seconds, officer Andres Lopez fired multiple shots, killing Yang. According to police, Yang was shot because he did not comply with commands to drop the knife and continued advancing toward them. However, Yang’s parents dispute the police account, insisting their son was not violent.

“My son was scared and trying to protect himself,” Min Yang told NBC News. “He was hearing voices and wanted to be alone in the apartment.”

The family says Yang had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder around 15 years ago and was experiencing a severe episode. They called for mental health help, not expecting it to lead to a fatal police shooting. The video shows the officers entering the apartment with a key provided by Yang’s parents. Upon entry, they found Yang in the living room holding a kitchen knife. Yang backed away but quickly moved toward the officers, who then fired at him.

“My son was not violent. He wanted to be alone and felt safe inside the apartment,” Min Yang explained. “He didn’t push us out; we left him alone to avoid further distress.”

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health did not comment on the specific case but issued a statement explaining that law enforcement is only contacted when there is an imminent threat that cannot be de-escalated through clinical means.

Attorney Ryan Casey, representing the Yang family, criticized the quick escalation to police involvement, noting that mental health personnel spent less than three minutes assessing Yang before calling the police. “We believe there is much more to the conversation than the edited clip released by LAPD,” Casey said, calling for the release of all bodycam footage.

The released bodycam footage shows a clinician telling police that Yang had become violent, but Yang’s parents dispute this. “He was shouting, not physically violent,” Min Yang insisted. “Maybe the clinician felt threatened, but my son did not threaten him.”

The police footage also includes a conversation where the officers are told that Yang cannot be taken to the hospital unless he is a threat. The video shows officers warning Min Yang that they might have to use force to remove his son.

After the shooting, the video depicts several officers handcuffing Yang as he lay motionless on the floor. The Los Angeles Fire Department later pronounced him dead at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

Min Yang expressed his disbelief and sorrow over the police response. “I gave them the keys, thinking they would handle the situation peacefully and take my son to the hospital,” he said. “I never imagined they would shoot him so quickly.”

Yang’s family is now calling for an independent investigation and the release of all evidence related to the incident. “My son was scared and trying to protect himself. I’m heartbroken that his life ended this way,” Min Yang said. “We need answers and justice for Yong.”

The family hopes that by sharing their story, they can prevent similar tragedies from happening to others. “No parent should have to lose their child like this,” Min Yang said. “We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”