- Associated Press - Sunday, August 21, 2016

NEW LONDON, Wis. (AP) - A man killed by New London police officers drew a realistic-looking toy gun to goad them into shooting him, authorities and his fiancee said Sunday.

The gun that Kole Knight possessed when he was shot Friday morning was a “plastic toy look-alike,” Johnny Koremenos, spokesman for the state Department of Justice, told the Appleton Post-Crescent (https://post.cr/2bdPsZG ).

Knight’s fiancee of three years, CiCi Johnson, told the newspaper that the 31-year-old was suicidal and knew that if he showed a weapon, or what looked like a weapon, to officers that they would shoot him.

New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter has said that the two officers knew Knight and that he was wanted on a warrant when they confronted him Friday.

“He wasn’t out to hurt anyone, he just wanted to stop suffering himself,” Johnson said. “I don’t blame police for what they did. If they had known it was a fake gun, they wouldn’t have shot and killed him.”

The toy gun belonged to her 14-year-old son, she said. After the shooting, she noticed that it was missing from her son’s bedroom.

Johnson says Knight, who was white, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He had attempted suicide multiple times, she said.

Johnson said she and Knight spent hours praying before the shooting, and that he was trying to reconcile with his criminal history and people that he had hurt.

Afterward, “he kissed my forehead, said he loved me, and walked outside,” said Johnson, in between tears. “Five minutes later, he was shot.”

Knight was scheduled to make an initial appearance on a theft charge in Outagamie County on Tuesday. He also had an open criminal case in Waupaca County for credit card fraud and theft.

The DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting. Wisconsin law says a death resulting from an action by a police officer must be investigated by an independent agency.

The names of the officers are expected to be released this week, Schlueter said.


Information from: Post-Crescent Media, https://www.postcrescent.com

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