ABSECON — The mother of a man shot by police outside a Dollar General Tuesday morning said her son suffers from mental health problems and that officers tried to handcuff his limp body while stepping on his bleeding leg.

Video shows the man identified by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office as Jalial Whitted, 37, of Absecon, being shot multiple times at the store on Route 9 around 9:40 a.m.  He slumped to the ground near the store entrance and was put into an ambulance.

According to Prosecutor's Office spokesman Mark Cooker, Whitted had shown a gun to employees inside the store.  They fled after he fired off at least one round, Cooker said.

Police point weapons at individual at Dollar General in Absecon, individual is placed into an ambulance
Police point weapons at individual at Dollar General in Absecon, individual is placed into an ambulance (Video shared online)

Refusal to comply, police said

Once outside the store, Whitted refused to comply with commands from police and reached for his weapon police said.

In video, officers can be heard yelling at Whitted although the words are inaudible.  Cooker said that a loaded firearm was later found.

Cooker would not disclose if Whitted attempted to rob the store or how many shots were fired by police. The names of the officers from Absecon and Pleasantville who fired at Whitted were also not disclosed.

Whitted was taken to AtlantiCare Medical, City Campus Trauma Center for treatment of his injuries. He was in stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon.

He is charged with first-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon by certain persons not to have a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

The Attorney General's Office designated the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office as the independent investigative unit for the shooting.

A call for transparency

Whitted's family held a news conference Wednesday afternoon in the Dollar General parking lot with the South Jersey Chapter of the civil rights group National Action Network.

Director Steve Young and his mother Kim Whitted said that she has unsuccessfully sought help for her son's mental health. Young said no effort was made to de-escalate the situation and wants the names of the officers who fired to be made public in the name of transparency.

Wearing a Black Lives Matter baseball cap Young also wondered why the Prosecutor's Office is leading the investigation and not the Attorney General's Office.

"How can a police officer testify against another officer through internal affairs at the same time the prosecutor is prosecuting the suspect? You can't have it both ways and we're asking for an independent investigator," Young said.

He wants a meeting with acting Attorney General Matt Platkin to discuss the case.

Neither Young nor Whitted's mother knew what happened inside the store. Kim Whitted said she was looking for her son when she heard shots fired. She said she came running to the parking lot yelling "don't shoot my son he has a mental illness."

Kim Whitted said officers handcuffed him and stepped on his bleeding leg before taking him to the ambulance.

"I still don't know what happened with my son. I still don't know what took place. I came close to the end and stopped them from shooting him. They won't let me see him. I don't want to make matters worse, my concern is about my son," Kim Whitted said. "I just want to let him know I love him and I'm here as I always been."

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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