Family of man killed by Florida deputy says his death could have been prevented

Harold Kraai, 52, suffered from schizophrenia

Harold Kraai
Harold Kraai

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of a mentally ill man shot and killed by a Jacksonville sheriff's deputy said authorities should have done more to de-escalate the situation.

Police identified the man as 52-year-old Harold Kraai. Family members described Kraai as a gentle giant who suffered from schizophrenia.

Family members called deputies Saturday morning after Kraai became distributive and smashed a car window. When a deputy arrived, Kraai was waiting on the porch holding a kitchen knife.

Chris Butler, a spokesman for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, said the deputy shot Kraai after he advanced on the deputy and ignored repeated commands to drop the weapon.

Butler said Kraai told a 911 dispatcher and the deputy on the scene that he wanted to die.

"All I wanted was some help with my son," Jacqulie Waver, Kraai's mother, told local TV station WJXT. "That’s all I wanted was some help."

Waver said that deputies have dealt with Kraai for years and could have used other ways to control her son.

Butler defended the Sheriff's Office response to the incident.

Deputies release a photo of the knife that Harold Kraai was holding when he was shot.
Deputies release a photo of the knife that Harold Kraai was holding when he was shot.

"We receive training in academy on how to deal with people with mental illness as well as when we’re on scene," Butler said. "We also have to remember we have an individual armed with knife who’s a threat to the officer as well as bystanders in the area."

Jessica Jordan, Kraai's niece, is planning a peaceful protest over her uncle's death.

"You don't shoot a mentally ill person," Jordan said. "You talk to them."