Family of Desman LaDuke reacts to Nicholasville Police killing him at his home

Nicholasville, KY–The family of 22 year-old Desman LaDuke has issued a statement after he was killed by the Nicholasville Police Department on Saturday, October 22, 2022. The family says there is a bad information circulating about what happened. They say any suggestions the cops made entry into Desman’s home before the shooting are false, and that he was killed by a police sniper stationed outside his bedroom window.

“Nothing has been said about Desman’s character, his kind nature, and the type of person he was. Everyone who knew Desman was familiar with his amazing personality,” the statement says. But LaDuke had recently been struggling with his mental health, having experienced “a lot of tragedy and struggle” in his life; he lost his mother unexpectedly in 2011, and tragically lost his brother in 2019.

Last Saturday, the family was so concerned about Desman they said he was “struggling with the desire to live,” and called 911, hoping to get him some help. Instead of sending help, the Nicholasville PD sent in a SWAT team, the family said. Nine officers in tactical gear surrounded Desman’s home and pointed assault rifles at him. As one might expect, this did nothing to help the situation and only made Desman more agitated.

When the woman who had raised Desman since his mother’s passing, Melissa Marks, arrived on the scene, she insisted she be allowed to enter Desman’s home and reassure him, “to hug him, and to tell him that everything would be okay.” Nicholasville PD officers responded by threatening her with physical violence, saying she would be tackled if she even attempted to enter the home and deescalate the situation, according to the statement.

Not long after, a police sniper shot Desman through his bedroom window. The family says officers then entered the home and drug him across the floor while yelling obscenities and blaming him for the shooting. This left a large trail of blood throughout the house that his family would only discover later.

We are devastated. Confused. Angry. Frustrated. Heartbroken. And struggling. since Saturday, nobody from the police department has come to express condolences. Nobody has given any answers as to why they took Desman’s life. Desman needed help. He did not harm anyone. He was alone in his home. Nine rifles being pointed at his doors and windows by officers in tactical gear did not do anything to defuse what was an obvious mental health crisis. A tactical kill shot through a window and into Desman’s chest was not the solution

Family statement

The family says the have not been contacted by NPD since the killing.

Kentucky State Police, who will investigate the homicide, issued the following statement:

KSP has statewide jurisdiction and investigates officer-involved shootings throughout the Commonwealth as requested by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. KSP is committed to being transparent while ensuring the integrity of the investigation. To protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation, it is KSP’s standard operating procedure not to release specific details until vital witnesses have been interviewed and pertinent facts gathered. Timelines to complete investigations vary based on the complexity of the case.

Kentucky State Police

Crisis Intervention training not required by state law

According to a Fox56 report, crisis intervention training is not required for state law enforcement officers. But LaDuke’s family said a better system should be in place, so another family doesn’t have to deal with such a tragic loss.

“First off, the foremost police never need to be called to a mental health crisis ever. Never. There is no reason for them to have guns drawn on them no one is ever going to feel safe and protected and ok,” said Tori Kittoe.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, Lexington Police have killed two people this year. Those victims were evidently going through mental health crises when they were killed, as well.

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