TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins is trying to come to grips with the shocking death of her cousin.
The singer, 47, shared a series of tweets this week, telling her followers her cousin, Eddie Russell Jr., 25, was shot 18 times by police officers, causing his death.
In an Instagram post of her tweets shared on Sunday, the TLC singer wrote, “My Cousin Was Shot 18 Times Including the Face and Back of His Head! He Harmed NO ONE EVER! He Had Mental Health Issues AND THE COPS KNEW THAT! Anything he’s ever Done Was minor and NON VIOLENT! Eddie Russell Jr -A Human-Being -A Son- Brother-Friend-Nephew – Cousin-HUMAN!”
The Peoria Police Department in Illinois released a press release on their Facebook page on Friday, alleging Russell Jr. was shot and killed in front of his home as he was “advancing towards officers with a handgun.”
The incident took place on Wednesday at about 12:49 p.m. when officers responded to a bank robbery. Police say Russell Jr. headed toward a residential area, before being identified by police through a bank surveillance video.
When police located Russell Jr., they say they attempted to contact him for over two hours, before activating a special response team to the scene.
At about 3:46 p.m., Russell Jr. emerged from his home when officers shot him between 17 and 20 times, according to the department’s release.
Russell Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say the handgun he carried matched the same one that was used during the bank robbery.
The six officers involved in the shooting have been placed on critical incident leave, according to police.
On Twitter, Watkins defended her cousin, writing that police “used” his mother to get Russell Jr. to leave his home and when she called him out, they opened fire.
“I’ve watched this story change so many times right before my eyes!” she tweeted. “Jr. Was a sweet harmless young man with mental issues he couldn’t help.”