College student fatally shot by officer was experiencing mental health crisis, family says

A Clayton County teen was shot and killed by police while attending college in Florida and his family say they want answers.

Alhaji Sow, 18, was killed after police claimed he lunged at them with a knife.

Family members say they believe Sow was having a mental health crisis and don’t believe lethal force should have been used.

"Why did Alhaji have to die like this? We just want to know why," father Mohamed Sow said.

The Clayton County family has launched a private investigation into the incident.  

"Our primary concern is why non-lethal options weren’t considered or used in this case and most significantly why the security officer for Florida Tech only had a gun and not any non-lethal mechanisms," Lawyer Greg Francis said.


The teen was killed Friday by police on the campus of Florida Tech after officers say they received reports that Sow had a knife and was chasing other students at a dorm.

According to Melbourne Police, when confronted Sow lunged at officers with a knife and that’s when they fired the fatal shots.

"When the school called me about him and told me what happened I told them it wasn’t my son. I know my son and that wasn’t my son," Sow said.

"Obviously there was a mental health crisis in the sense that this wasn’t the behavior that’s not consistent with what he does or is. Even talking to the students they would tell you he was a very calm student," Lawyer Greg Francis said.

Attorney for the family, Greg Francis, says they are awaiting autopsy results and have requested body cam, surveillance and cell phone video of the incident.

Witnesses describe hearing up to 15 shots.

"Five and fifteen shots for a young man that’s 5’2 and 140 pounds. That speaks for itself," Francis said.

"When you see it on tv you don’t know how much pain you get from losing a child until it happens to you," Sow said.

University officials say they can’t release any information until police wrap up their investigation.

The family is now planning a funeral and says they are awaiting results from their independent investigation before deciding if they will take legal action.