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Everything We Know About the Police Killing of Double-Amputee Anthony Lowe

4 minute read
Updated: | Originally published:

The Jan. 26 police shooting of a 36-year-old, double amputee in southeastern Los Angeles is the latest killing of a Black man to set off protests over excessive and lethal violence by U.S. law enforcement.

Activists and the family of Anthony Lowe Jr. took to the Huntington Park Police Department headquarters on Monday to condemn the killing. “They murdered my son in a wheelchair—with no legs,” Lowe’s mother Dorothy said.

Last week, five police officers were charged with second-degree murder for beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols in Memphis—leading to his death days after. Protests broke out across the U.S. following Nichols’ death.

What is the police’s account of the Lowe shooting?

In a Jan. 30 statement, the Huntington Park Police Department said its officers were responding to a stabbing on the afternoon of Jan. 26.

The stabbing victim described his attacker as a man in a wheelchair. The attacker allegedly “dismounted the wheelchair, ran to the victim without provocation, and stabbed him in the side of the chest” with a “12-inch butcher knife,” before fleeing the scene in the wheelchair.

In the search for the assailant, they located the alleged suspect, later identified as Lowe, a few blocks away, holding a knife. Huntington police said its officers attempted to detain the man, but authorities said he ignored verbal orders and “threatened to advance or throw the knife at the officers.” They also said they tasered the suspect twice.

“The suspect continued to threaten officers with the butcher knife, resulting in an officer-involved shooting,” the statement read.

The L.A. Sheriff’s Department said on Friday the suspect was shot in the “upper torso,” and “was treated on scene by Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics and pronounced dead.”

What has happened to the police officers involved?

The police officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave per protocol, according to the Huntington police.

The Huntington Park Police Department, Homicide Bureau of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting.

What do we know about Lowe?

Yatoya Toy, Lowe’s sister, told the Los Angeles Times that her brother’s legs were amputated last year after an altercation with law enforcement in Texas. TIME could not verify the details of that incident.

Lowe had two teenage children, and he lived in South Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times.

The mother of one of Lowe’s children, Ebonique Simon, described him to CNN as a “loving, caring father.” She also told CNN that Lowe was “dealing with a lot of depression” over the loss of his legs.

A spokesperson for the family told CBS News that Lowe was undergoing a mental health crisis when he was shot.

What has the reaction been so far?

A grainy video of the incident, which TIME could not independently verify, is circulating online, appearing to show Lowe, dismounted from his wheelchair, hobble away from two police officers as he carries what appears to be a large knife. A police car then blocks the view.

The L.A. Times reported Sunday that Lowe’s sister identified him in the video. It also said that the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department collected video from a nearby establishment, though it does not intend to release the footage.

Cliff Smith, an organizer with the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, called on L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón to prosecute the officers involved. “We want specific justice,” he said at the press conference outside local police headquarters Monday.

Lowe’s mother Dorothy said, “This situation is worse than George Floyd. When these videos go out, it’s going to be all bad.”

The family has not commented on Lowe’s alleged involvement in the stabbing incident.

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