On the night of April 14, Kawaski Trawick, 32, got locked out of his apartment in a building run by a nonprofit in The Bronx.
He had food cooking on the stove, according to the Fire Department.
There were dueling 911 calls: a distraught Trawick reporting his fears of a fire – and the building superintendent and a security guard saying he was banging on doors, harassing neighbors.
The FDNY came and left after breaking open the door of his apartment at 1616 Grand Ave. in Morris Heights. The police arrived seven minutes later – an encounter that ended with Trawick’s shooting death and with his family asking why he had to die.
“I don’t think they really had to kill my son, I don’t think they had to shoot him and shoot him dead like that,” his father, Ricky Trawick, told THE CITY in a phone interview from Georgia.
How the situation went from a lockout to deadly shooting within minutes was unclear.
A Tragic Chronology
Police said they arrived at Trawick’s apartment door at 11:06 p.m. The two cops on the scene found him wielding a wooden stick and a serrated knife, the NYPD said.
After the officers talked with Trawick for less than two minutes, they tasered him, police said. He fell and the officers moved to arrest him. Police said he got up, threatened them and charged.
One cop fired his gun four times, hitting Trawick twice. The dance aerobics instructor was declared dead at Bronx Lebanon Hospital at 11:46 p.m.
The NYPD said the incident was captured on an officer’s body camera, but declined to make the footage public Wednesday.
The city’s Human Resources Administration, which contracts the nonprofit running the supportive housing building, has a “confidential incident report” describing the night’s events but refused to release it.
The building where Trawick lived is called Hill House and is operated by Services for the Underserved, which helps “people with disabilities, people in poverty and people facing homelessness,” according to its website.
“Services for the UnderServed has been cooperating with the police and we are awaiting the results of their investigation into the incident,” Nadia Khasawneh, a spokesperson for the nonprofit wrote in an email.
She did not answer questions about Services for the UnderServed’s policies for bringing police into their buildings.
Answers 'Would Be Nice'
A Hill House director and the superintendent guided police to Trawick’s floor, the NYPD said.
The security guard who twice called police said on a 911 call that Trawick had seemed mentally unstable that day and was possibly intoxicated, according to police.
But the 911 calls were not flagged as a response to an “emotionally disturbed person,” police said, and the guard said on the call she was unaware of any mental health issues in his history.
One of the officers knew the building was a supportive housing facility and the other did not, an NYPD official said. Both were trained in “crisis intervention,” police said.
The super had a history of problems with Trawick – he previously called police and accused Trawick of harassment, the NYPD said in an initial briefing on the shooting last week.
On the night of the shooting, the super told 911 that Trawick had threatened to punch him in the face while banging on his door.
Outside Hill House Wednesday, a resident who gave his name as Arnold started to tell THE CITY about the night of April 14, but was quickly commanded inside by an apparent staffer.
“You know, I’m really sad about it,” he said before he was cut off.
Trawick’s father, meanwhile, said answers “really would be nice.”
He went back to his job as a trucker Tuesday hoping it would take his mind off his son’s death.
“They could have handled it in a little different way,” he said.
This story was originally published by THE CITY, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.