TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins is trying to come to grips with the shocking death of her cousin.
The singer, 47, shared a series of tweets this week, telling her followers her cousin, Eddie Russell Jr., 25, was shot to death by police officers 18 times.
In an Instagram post of her tweets shared on Sunday, the TLC singer wrote, “My Cousin Was Shot 18 Times Including the Face and Back of His Head! He Harmed NO ONE EVER! He Had Mental Health Issues AND THE COPS KNEW THAT! Anything he’s ever Done Was minor and NON VIOLENT! Eddie Russell Jr -A Human-Being -A Son- Brother-Friend-Nephew – Cousin-HUMAN!”
The Peoria Police Department in Illinois released a press release on their Facebook page on Friday, alleging Russell Jr. was shot and killed in front of his home as he was “advancing towards officers with a handgun.”
When police located Russell Jr., they say they attempted to contact him for over two hours, before activating a special response team to the scene.
At about 3:46 p.m., Russell Jr. emerged from his home when officers shot him between 17 and 20 times, according to the department’s release.
They say my cousin had a gun! Whatever he is holding isn't a gun! And they used his Mother to bring him out telling her— Tionne T-Boz Watkins (@TheRealTBOZ) September 24, 2017
No matter what they SAY he did they shot him 18 times he NEVER had a violent record or harmed ANYONE! Not even the day he was shot— Tionne T-Boz Watkins (@TheRealTBOZ) September 24, 2017
I've watched this story change so many times right before my eyes! Jr. Was a sweet harmless young man with mental issues he couldn't help— Tionne T-Boz Watkins (@TheRealTBOZ) September 24, 2017
He NEVER DESERVED TO GET SHOT 18 times with AR 15's No one was being held hostage! But one thing we can ALL SEE that doesn't look like a gun— Tionne T-Boz Watkins (@TheRealTBOZ) September 24, 2017
Russell Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say the handgun he carried matched the same one that was used during the bank robbery.
The six officers involved in the shooting have been placed on critical incident leave, according to police.
On Twitter, Watkins defended her cousin, writing that police “used” his mother to get Russell Jr. to leave his home and when she called him out, they opened fire.