The family of a Massachusetts man who stabbed a woman repeatedly before he died in police custody says they tried to get him help for mental health issues. An attorney for Erich Stelzer’s family says Stelzer had been experiencing delusions and paranoia.
Stelzer’s family says they called police and EMTs on Christmas Day. They say the EMTs’ assessment was that Stelzer didn’t need assistance because he was “lucid enough to know his own name and the date.”
The family says they hired a team to help bring Stelzer to a facility for treatment, but the attack occurred before that could happen.
Police say 24-year-old Maegan Tapley is expected to survive Thursday’s attack. Her mother says they met on the dating app Tinder.
Officers used stun guns on Stelzer, a bodybuilder who shared fitness videos on YouTube. He became unresponsive while being transported to the hospital.
In an interview with CBS station WBZ-TV, Harry Stelzer, Erich’s father, says he feels sorry for the victim, but has consulted with an attorney because he feels the police went too far in subduing his son.
“Now aren’t they tough enough to put him in handcuffs? Tase him two times? Put him in a state of mind where he has no control over his bodily functions and then just handcuff him?” Stelzer said.
A GoFundMe page for Tapley says she suffered a broken hand and other extensive injuries. “She was beaten, stabbed, majority of hair ripped from her head,” an update on the page reads. “Please pray for her recovery and thank you for your generosity.”