He Won't Be Back
Mubarak Soulemane, 19, had schizophrenia, and his family knew when an episode was coming on. Rain or shine, a nurse brought medications to his house in New Haven, Conn., every morning. His family members wanted the reminder, knowing that, otherwise, Mr. Soulemane might think he was fine and skip the medications. At the same time, Mubarak Soulemane’s family tried to assure that his schizophrenia did not define his life.
But one day in January 2020, while he was in a manic episode, his family said, a police shooting took his life after the police chased Mr. Soulemane in the car that the police said Mubarak stole.
Similar deaths are not hard to find. People experiencing mental illness make up nearly a quarter of those killed by the police, according to a Washington Post database that has been recording every fatal shooting by an on-duty police officer in the United States since 2015. It raises the question of who and how to respond to emergency calls involving people with mental illnesses.
Photographed and wrote the story
Published at The New York Times Student Journalism Institute in 2021
Mubarak Soulemane's family tried to protect him from his schizophrenia.
Mubarak Soulemane's family tried to assure that his schizophrenia did not define his life. But one day, while he was in a manic episodeâ¦