Family looks for answers after Jackson man shot by police in Illinois
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JACKSON, Tenn. — After a Jackson man is killed at the hands of police, his family is demanding answers as authorities in Illinois say Darius Graves’ shooting was justified. The shooting comes after Graves refused to surrender as they investigated an armed robbery. The family of the 31-year-old was extremely emotional when WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News met with them Friday. Graves was shot and killed by police in Illinois after a more than six-hour standoff at a local motel. Police say he was found to be unarmed, and now his family believes no one should have ever opened fire. “He just kept saying, ‘I love y’all and don’t y’all forget about me,'” Graves’ sister Dawanna said. “He kept saying they were going to kill him.” Graves was shot once Tuesday by a Champaign, Ill., police officer. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. “On behalf of all law enforcement agencies, we offer our condolences to the family of Darius Graves, as the loss of any life is tragic,” Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb said. Graves was shot during a standoff with police at a motel in Rantoul, Ill. Police said he was a suspect in a recent armed robbery at a local Hardee’s and held officers at bay for more than six hours before they deployed tear gas. While the standoff was going on, Graves’ family says they were speaking with him on Facebook and were on their way to help with negotiations. “We were on the highway,” Graves’ cousin Kiara Mays said. “We were like ‘can we talk to your negotiator? As soon as he sees us he’s going to come out.'” But before they got to the scene, officers said he crawled out of the hotel room with what looked like a gun. “There’s a metallic thing in his hand that catches our attention,” Chief Cobb said. “Initially, officers were thinking this was a weapon.” Seconds later, after running out of view of a police camera, he was shot by an officer on a walkway at the motel. “We kept telling them we were positive that he was not armed,” Graves said. “We kept telling them that.” Police said Graves was later found to be holding a metal pipe, not a gun. “I am comfortable giving a preliminary opinion that Sgt. Olson’s use of deadly force was legally appropriate,” District Attorney Julia Rietz said. But the family said they don’t believe it was justified. “The man that pulled the trigger that killed my child’s father deserves to go down,” Yolanda Johnson said. “We will get justice for Darius Graves.” According to the Campaign Police Department, the investigation is far from over. The officer who fired the shot is currently on routine leave.