Parents of student shot by U of C police: 'That's not the son I know'

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The parents of Charles Thomas, a senior at the University of Chicago shot by a campus police officer, find it hard to reconcile the son they know with images on police video. (WLS)

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The parents of Charles Thomas, a senior at the University of Chicago who may have been in the midst of a mental crisis when he was shot by a campus police officer Tuesday night, are finding it hard to reconcile the son they know with the images on police video.

Dash cam video shows Thomas refusing to comply with demands. He has his face covered with some sort of shield, is holding a metal stake, and is wearing yellow gloves. Police were responding to calls from nearby residents who said a man was screaming, yelling, and smashing windows and cars.

Thomas was shot in the shoulder. His parents, who arrived here from Southern California, said they're grateful their son wasn't killed and their main concern is getting him psychiatric help.

"That's not the son I know. That's not him. There's definitely some issues going on," said his father Wendell Thomas.

"The voice he was using when he was yelling, I've never heard him use that voice. It was like it was coming from another place," said his mother Kathy Thomas.

Thomas's parents said their son had recently sought counseling from the university and was referred to services off-campus.

Kathy said she's been treated for bipolar disorder for decades, and has watched her son closely for symptoms.

"It's hard when you're a student living away from home to get help outside the university," she said.

Thomas, 21, has been charged with aggravated assault of the campus officer. His parents said their son physically is improving, though he has a broken clavicle and a collapsed lung, and a bullet remains lodged in his shoulder.

A rally was held at the Hyde Park campus Friday afternoon by students and staff who want changes.

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Students at the University of Chicago are demanding changes after another student was shot by university police during what may have beeen a mental health crisis.

The passionate gathering of students, faculty and local residents demanded University of Chicago Police Department have reduced police powers and increased mental health support.

They rallied and marched across campus delivering letters to the University's president.

The university commented for the first time since the incident.

"We are very concerned with hearing from students about what they think we could be doing better, so we are always willing to engage with them around how we can deploy what resources we have more strategically," said Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen.

Rasmussen said she is willing to meet with concerned students.
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police-involved shootinguniversity of chicagoprotestChicagoHyde Park
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