Vankleek family says he had “long struggle with mental illness”

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Police car blocks off crime scene (photo: special to Mid-Hudson News)

TOWN OF WALLKILL – The family of Christopher Vankleeck, who was shot to death by police on Saturday, June 12, has broken their silence about the incident.

In a statement provided exclusively to Mid-Hudson News, family spokesman Anthony Lucarelli said the shooting appears to have been justified.

“My nephew, brother’s son, Christopher VanKleeck, after a long struggle with mental illness, was shot in what appears to be a justifiable shooting by the Town of Wallkill Police Department,” he said. “The Wallkill Police Department and the New York State Police have been professional and compassionate throughout this ordeal. Our family is cooperating with what we know will be a thorough investigation. We ask that the public not judge the situation prior to any investigative outcome.”

Police have provided no details of the incident other than to say they responded to an address in the Meadows housing subdivision around 3:30 p.m. and shot the 31-year-old man dead following “an encounter.”

The State Attorney General’s Office and State Police are investigating the incident.