We posted earlier about a Henrico man that was shot by police last Thursday. He has been in ICU at the VCU Medical Center since the shooting occurred. His father told News 12 that Allen’s condition is improving, as he was able to mumble a few words to his family.
Skeens was shot after police were called to an apartment complex near Freeman High School on a disorderly conduct and destruction of property call. Once on the scene, Skeens put up his arms and walked towards police, telling them “shoot me, shoot me.” An officer shot Skeens once in the torso, sending him to the hospital. Skeens was unarmed. The officer who shot him is on administrative assignment pending an investigation into what led up to the shooting.
Allen is a 20 year old man with “bipolar disorder” who is open about his emotional state and psychological well-being, as he was known to have conversations about his struggles with his neighbors. It is a travesty that a person that is so willing to share openly of his emotional health was the victim of a police shooting. Regardless of Skeens telling the police to shoot him, the police should have attempted to deescalate Allen using the mental health and “mental illness” training that they received when becoming police officers.
We believe that the Henrico officer that shot Allen Skeens was not following proper procedure in handling people with mental health concerns. Skeens should have been offered emotional support and help, not a bullet to the torso. Our thoughts are with Allen and his family. We will update as things progress.
Note: “Bipolar disorder” is in quotes because Allen’s identifying as “bipolar” is divulged by his neighbor, not Allen himself. When or if Allen himself can say that this incident occurred from an episode of a psychiatric diagnosis, we will change this. We do commend Allen for being open about his emotional state, even if he is not diagnosed.