Man shot dead had mental illness Tuesday, October 31, 2006 CAROL ROBINSON News staff writer A knife-wielding man shot to death after attacking a Birmingham police officer Sunday night had a history of mental illness and threatened to kill his entire family in the hours before the shooting, relatives said. Audie Alonzo Murphy, 42, suffered from schizophrenia for years, his sisters said, and lately wouldn't take his medication. The family planned Monday morning to petition a judge to confine him for treatment. Instead, they were left to cope with his death. "I am very shocked," said one of his sisters, Shelvia Jolly. "I wouldn't think it would have taken all that to handle him." The shooting death is under investigation by the Birmingham Police homicide unit and Internal Affairs Division, as well as the Jefferson County district attorney. The wounded officer, North Precinct patrolman William Raymond, 29, remained in UAB Hospital Monday but is expected to survive. He had additional surgery Monday. Police said Raymond, who will have been an officer for a year in December, lost a large amount of blood. He was stabbed in his shoulder and arm. "We hate that it happened," Birmingham Police Chief Annetta Nunn said Monday. Prayed on the way: The chief, who has seen several officers and retired officers buried in recent weeks, said she prayed on her way to the hospital Sunday night. It was just a week ago that her friend, Fairfield police officer Mary Smith, was shot to death after being sent to investigate a suspicious vehicle. Nunn hoped this outcome would be different. "It does cross your mind," she said. "I didn't know what condition he was in, but I just felt he was going to make it through." While authorities said the shooting appears justified, Murphy's family members question the way the situation was handled. Police knew of his mental illness, they said, and had been able to successfully restrain and control him in the past. "He's never attacked nobody," Jolly said. Court records show Murphy had been convicted of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and theft of property, but had no history of violent crimes. He lived at the 15th Court North home with his mother and another sister, Doris Murphy. Doris Murphy said she came out of her room Sunday morning to go to work and saw her brother fiddling with wires behind the television. She asked him what he was doing but he told her it wasn't any of her business. He had also been sticking wires in electrical outlets and police said he may have threatened to blow up the house. "We was fussing and arguing and he left when I went out to work," said Doris Murphy. Doris Murphy said the family didn't want Murphy back in the house until police arrived. At one point, she said, her brother tried to move an air conditioner to gain entry into the home. At another time during the day, the home's power went out. In touch with police: She said the family had been in touch with police throughout the day as his strange behavior continued. "I wanted them to take him to get help," Doris Murphy said. On Sunday evening, two officers arrived at the home to take a report from family members. Raymond offered to drive around the block and look for Murphy, Doris Murphy said, while another officer took her statement. She said she was talking to the officer when she heard Raymond come over the police radio, saying the word "stabbed" over and over. The dispatcher asked the officer if he was stabbed or had stabbed the suspect and Raymond replied, "I've been stabbed," Doris Murphy said. The next few moments were chaotic. The officer she was talking to jumped into his patrol car and took off. The neighborhood soon was flooded with police cruisers. "They were ripping and running up and down the street," she said. She said she was standing on the front porch and didn't hear any gunshots. She said she didn't initially think her brother was involved. "I thought it was somebody else," she said. "I was just hoping they had handcuffed my brother and already put him in the car." Police said Raymond apparently found Murphy in a nearby alley just a block from his home, where friends and family said Murphy would retreat to calm down during "spells." Struggled in alley: The officer and Murphy struggled in the alley and eventually ended up in a small wooded area between the alley and apartments on 33rd Street North. Police said Murphy attacked Raymond with a knife, stabbing him in the chest, the left arm and shoulder and head before the officer was able to pull his gun and fire two shots at Murphy. The officer's protective vest stopped a potentially grave chest wound. Neighbors said they heard Murphy crying out "help me." He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police returned there Monday, using a bomb-sniffing dog to try to find shell casings from the bullets fired by the officer. The site of the shooting remained roped off with yellow crime scene tape, and dozens of Norwood residents gathered to watch the activity. It was all too much for Doris Murphy, who erupted into sobs while on her front porch talking about the ordeal. "We tried everything to get peace for him," she said. "I was asking for help - not for him to die like this."