Photo gallery: Shooting At CSUSB
SAN BERNARDINO - More than two-dozen people - students, family members and supporters - braved the cold and winds Wednesday night to take part in a candlelight vigil for Bartholomew Williams, a Cal State San Bernardino graduate student fatally shot Saturday by campus police.
"It was beautiful and we appreciate seeing all the people from all walks of life coming out to celebrate my brother and to show support for those with mental illness," said Benin Lemus, Williams' older sister, who was at the vigil with her husband, Nelson Lemus, and their young daughter.
Williams, who Benin Lemus said was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and received his medications and counseling through the university, was shot and killed Saturday after he became involved in a physical fight with three campus police officers.
The fatal shooting took place in the hallway of the University Village student complex, where he lived, officials said.
Many vigil attendees said they felt officers did not have to use deadly force with someone with a documented mental illness.
"Why couldn't they use a Taser or some other means?" asked Terance Mann of Hesperia and a CSUSB graduate. "I think the police need more training when it comes to dealing with the mental health population."
According to San Bernardino police, the officers tried to subdue Williams by giving verbal commands, then used pepper spray and then baton strikes.
Williams reportedly took and used the pepper spray against one of the officers and then allegedly began kicking the officer while the officer was on the ground.
Many at the vigil felt the use of lethal force was not justified.
"To be brutally attacked like that doesn't seem fair," said Sandy Melancom, a university student studying to be a social worker.
Eddie Jones, president of the Los Angeles Civil Rights Association, who organized the event, spoke about making changes to current policies when it came to mental health issues.
Jones said he hoped to introduce the Bartholomew Williams Mental Awareness Bill to legislators in hopes of bringing increased law enforcement training and awareness when dealing with anyone with mental illness.
San Bernardino police investigators said Williams was acting erratically earlier in the day and campus police were called out then too.
There is a possibility Williams may not have been taking his prescribed medications to control his mental illness, police said.
The fatal incident remains under investigation by the San Bernardino Police Department.