LOS ANGELES (AP) — The mother of a man who was shot by police after witnesses said he chased children with a broken bottle at a California sports field plans to file a wrongful death claim against the city of Huntington Beach, her lawyer said Saturday.
Angela Hernandez, the mother of 29-year-old Steven Schiltz, doesn’t believe he went on a rampage in the city, attorney Michael Guisti said.
“She’s pretty heart-broken,” the lawyer said. “The story that he’s threatening people, or running away, that he was any sort of danger, she said that doesn’t make any sense compared to the guy she knows and his personality.”
Guisti planned to file a claim with the city next week and expects it to be denied, which would clear the way for a lawsuit.
Schiltz, who lived with his mother, had come to the Huntington Beach Sports Complex on Thursday evening to play softball on a team, Guisti said.
Witnesses, however, said a bloody, shirtless man later identified as Schiltz followed an adult soccer player over a 3-foot barrier onto a soccer field and began chasing children with a broken wine bottle.
As the screaming youngsters fled, the man moved toward a woman on the bleachers who appeared frozen with fear, said Jose Sanchez, a coach whose team of 13-year-olds was practicing on the field.
Two police officers opened fire, killing Schiltz.
“I feel like the cops tried not to shoot him and when they did it was because they had to,” Sanchez told The Associated Press. “One more second, and he would have struck her.”
Schiltz’s mother told KCBS-TV that her son had drug issues and was in a psychiatric ward last year.