About 1:50 p.m. Sunday, Shine was at a house that he helped his mother clean as part of her housekeeping business. He called 911, saying he was suicidal and wanted an officer to come to the home on Robin Street in Manchester Townshship, N.J., about 30 miles southeast of Trenton.
The officers who arrived encountered the 18-year-old holding a large knife, prosecutors said. When he saw the officers, he began walking toward them, telling them to shoot him.
“The Officers gave Mr. Shine commands to relax, surrender and to drop his weapon,” the prosecutor’s news release said.
But Shine continued to advance — and an officer fired one shot.
The officers gave first aid to Shine in the driveway of the home, but he was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
During the investigation, detectives recovered the knife and the note.
Police and prosecutors have not released the name of the officers who responded to the scene or who fired the fatal shot. It was unclear whether they were suspended pending the result of an investigation.
Nancy Festa, who lives next to the home where police shot Shine, told the Asbury Park Press that she didn’t hear the shooting but saw the aftermath.
She said she saw ambulances, police cars and red crime-scene tape strung across her front yard and recalled Shine’s mother at the scene, crying out to police: “I want to see him. I want to see him now.”
“She was very upset,” Festa told the newspaper. “Yeah, I would’ve been, too. I feel bad for the mother, I really do.”
According to his Facebook page, Shine was originally from Rahway, N.J., and went to Toms River High School North. It was unclear whether police officers had ever had any dealings with him before.
Although no one keeps specific numbers of so-called “suicides by cop,” a 2014 report by the National Sheriffs’ Association estimated that a third of police shootings fall into that category:
Studies suggest that approximately one-third of the shootings by law enforcement officers results from the victim attempting to commit “suicide-by-cop.” The transfer of responsibility for persons with mental illness from mental health professionals to law enforcement officers is both illogical and unfair and harms both the patients and the officers.
The shootings are also difficult to prevent. Officers called to the scene typically have no idea they’ve been enlisted to be someone’s executioner, according to the FBI. The suicidal person an officer may encounter may have done extensive planning, and even practiced, according to a bulletin by the FBI:
Suicide by cop situations are more intense than other suicide calls. All parties are armed, or the victim appears to be armed. The individual is active, rather than passive, and aggressive toward police or others. …Theoretically, suicides are preventable; however, realistically they may not be avoidable because of the nature of the plan or the point where first responders encounter the suicidal individual. [Suicide by cop] often is unpreventable. This must be considered in the aftermath regarding the officers who were coerced to be the unwilling means.