PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — So much has changed in the years since Andre Rawls turned 16 years old.
At Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the 19-year-old fought through the initial trauma of a Taser to the chest, and being shot twice in his right arm, twice in his right leg, and once in the left leg by police after they say he refused several orders to drop a sharp object as he approached an officer in Portsmouth.
Now, he’s fighting to walk again.
“He’s not giving up he’s like ‘mom I want to walk again.’ We are going to stand together with God on our side to see him make it through this transitional stage,” said his mother Kenette Rawls.
According to Ms. Rawls, a few days after the shooting, in the middle of the night, Rawls became unresponsive while under care at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
“When that happened, it scared me and I screamed so loud and I said ‘please don’t die — please don’t die’ — I just asked my son, ‘please don’t die’,” said the Chesapeake mother. “They [doctors and nurses] helped revive him and bring him back. I do know he had to have a blood transfusion and I do know they had to do cardiac testing for his heart, then hours later he was feeling a lot better.”
10 On Your Side continues to investigate the events of June 19 around 11:30 in the morning in the 2300 block of Greenwood Drive.
Based on interviews with Ms. Rawls and a corroborating witness, Andre Rawls was apparently in the neighborhood looking for a former girlfriend who used to live in the 2300 block.
At one point, after graduating from Oscar Smith High School, Mr. Rawls lived with his girlfriend and her family at that location. The girlfriend’s mother contacted 10 On Your Side to corroborate that Rawls has a mental health disorder and that she believes he was in crisis when he returned to the neighborhood. At least one resident called police to complain about Mr. Rawls’ presence and according to his mother, paramedics responded to the scene.
“The initial call that was reported to 911 was that my son was laying on the ground and that someone was outside laying on the ground either drunk or high. The second call was when the police came out and that’s when the malicious crime happed,” Ms. Rawls said.
When asked whether she meant the “malicious shooting” described the officer shooting her son, Rawls responded, “Yes, absolutely.”
The shooting is currently under investigation by the Virginia State Police. Rawls’ mother has also called for an investigation by the Portsmouth NAACP.
Portsmouth Police provided a copy of the general orders regarding the department’s response to citizens with mental health issues. Click here to read the policy and procedures.