In a raw outpouring of emotion, the mother of Cordale Quinn Handy held a curbside vigil Sunday afternoon at the spot where her 29-year-old son was fatally shot early Wednesday by St. Paul police officers responding to a domestic violence call.
Saying she wanted answers and wasn't getting them from the police, Kim Handy-Jones urged witnesses to step forward and called on the police department to explain what happened.
"One thing that I know: They can't hurt my child no more. They can't do him no more harm, but they have to live with what they've done," said Handy-Jones, who with about 20 friends and relatives drove up on Sunday from their homes in Waukegan, Ill., to talk to people in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood where Handy died.
The family headed home Sunday evening, but they say they learned that Handy didn't threaten anyone, didn't point his gun, was not hostile and was seated on the curb or sidewalk when he was shot, according to Ralph Peterson Jr., a friend of the family and a Lake City, Ill., activist.
"Everybody's response was the same" on those points, said Peterson, saying he gathered that information from witnesses.
Police identified the two St. Paul officers who shot Handy.
Mikko Norman and Nathaniel Younce — both with two years on the force — responded to the intersection of Sinnen and E. 7th streets around 2:20 a.m. and found Handy holding a gun, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the shooting at the request of St. Paul police.
Handy, 29, pointed the gun at the officers twice and ignored Norman's and Younce's repeated orders to drop the weapon, according to the BCA. Both officers fired and hit Handy.
The family said their attempts to meet with the St. Paul Police Department or get answers to their questions have, so far, been in vain.
"It's really sad that we have to travel 500 miles to find out the police are not telling [Handy-Jones] anything," said Peterson.
Handy grew up in Waukegan but had moved to St. Paul in recent months.
Handy's sister, Whitney Jones, said she can't get over how strange it is that her brother is dead.
"He came here to get away and be positive and to get away from his troubles at home," she said, using a loudspeaker to address a crowd of about 75 people at the vigil. "It's just crazy that I won't ever, ever see him again or hear his voice."
Handy-Jones moved her friends and relatives to tears while remembering her son.
"It's about these lives that are being taken. It's about the hearts that are achin', and I'm one of them," she said. "Amongst many."
Handy-Jones was accompanied by Black Lives Matter representatives from Waukegan, including the Lake County chairman of BLM, Clyde McLemore. He urged people to act but to do so through nonviolent means such as using public record requests to dig out information about police shootings.
"I'm not telling you to tear up your town," said McLemore. "We can do it peacefully."
The vigil also brought comparisons to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, who died July 6 when he was shot by a St. Anthony police officer who has since been charged with manslaughter, a felony.
"My friend was just murdered the same way last year by these Klan members," said John Thompson, a friend of Castile's who attended the vigil.
"The streets talk, and the streets say St. Paul police your story ain't adding up to what the street story say."
The family plans a prayer service on Wednesday in Waukegan. A funeral has been planned in the same city for Saturday.