A man shot and killed by Meridian police late Monday had three previous convictions for misdemeanor obstructing and resisting officers.
Eric O. Dilworths girlfriend said he was angry but not violent and just needed help.
I think all this was a cry for help, Sandi Kateley told the Statesman. I just dont see Eric doing what theyre saying all over the news.
Dilworth, 38, of Meridian, died from multiple gunshot wounds, the Ada County Coroners Office said Tuesday. The coroner did not reveal the number of gunshot wounds, and police would not say how many times officers shot.
Meridian police Chief Jeff Lavey said four Meridian officers fired their guns at Dilworth, who was holding a knife with a 10-inch blade outside his apartment in the 1900 block of North Wilson Lane late Monday. No officers were injured.
Kateley said Dilworth called her at 11:37 p.m. and told me that he loved me and that he might not see me again. A short while later, Dilworths roommate called to say shots had been fired at the apartment.
Kateley said police were called to the apartment Sunday by neighbors who said Dilworth was being belligerent. Officers checked his apartment, then left. Dilworth later told Kateley that officers asked him if he needed medication, and he said he didnt know.
Dilworth was upset again on Monday, Kateley said, but he was with his brother, Mark, who called police to help calm Dilworth down.
His brother just called the cops to get help; thats all he did. And then they come and shoot him, she said.
She said Dilworth had anger problems and still struggled with the death of his wife from cancer 10 years ago.
On Monday, police say, they were called to the apartment for a report of a possibly suicidal man. Shortly after officers arrived, Dilworth ran out of the back door of the apartment with the knife, they said. Officers say they told him to drop the knife, but Dilworth continued toward them.
Thats when the four officers shot him, Lavey said.
The officers will be on administrative leave for at least 72 hours, which is standard in officer-involved shootings.
Lavey said the names of the officers wont be released at least until after theyve been interviewed by investigators. They have a combined 35 years in law enforcement, he said.
Dealing with suicidal and troubled people is a growing issue for police in Idaho. Just last summer, Boise Chief Mike Masterson said police are shouldering a growing burden of handling suicidal and other troubled subjects in need of counseling and other services.
State law allows officers to use deadly force when they are faced with great bodily harm or death. Idaho officers are trained to use deadly force when someone with a knife gets within 21 feet.
Lavey said Tuesday he didnt know how far Dilworth was from the officers when he was shot. That will be a focus of the investigation Boise police are leading. Dilworths criminal history includes a misdemeanor conviction in October for resisting or obstructing officers, which earned him 10 days in jail. Dilworth also had convictions for obstructing or resisting officers in 2010 and 2007.
Dilworth is only the second person killed by Meridian police.
The first was Ricardo Benitez, 47, who died May 13, 2007, after Officer Brian Lueddeke shot him inside his home in the 800 block of N. Valley Green Way.
Police say Benitez threatened his family with a knife and violated a court order. Lueddeke shot Benitez after Benitez jumped toward him with an 8-inch bread knife. The Twin Falls County prosecutor concluded the shooting was justified.
Benitez wife, Terry Benitez, disagreed, and she and her two sons filed a tort claim against the city in 2007 asking for $5 million. The claim was not settled and a lawsuit was not filed.
Twitter: @IDS_Orr, @meghanncuniff