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Family of man killed by Durham police: He didn't have to die that day

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Biggs (WTVD)

The family of the man shot and killed by Durham police officers in September 2015 say they look forward to reviewing the city's investigation into the man's death. They disagree with the findings of District Attorney Roger Echols which determined that the officers' actions were justified.

La'Vante Biggs, 21, was shot five times on September 6, 2015 when he came towards officers with what appeared to be a gun. Police say he was suicidal and that attempts to get him to put down the weapon failed. It was later determined that the weapon was an Airsoft gun.

Read more: Investigation: DPD actions justified in 2015 shooting.

Shanika Biggs, La'Vante's mother, held a press conference with her family and supporters Saturday afternoon. She said it has been an extremely difficult week after prosecutors decided not to bring charges against the officers.

"We are saddened and angry that no officer has been charged or disciplined for the death of our son," Shanika Biggs said. "He did not have to die that day."

The Biggs family questioned why non-deadly tactics weren't used to subdue him.

Read more: Man killed in police standoff was carrying Airsoft gun.

Echols says his decision to not charge the officers was based on the evidence.

"I don't see a whole lot that could have been done differently, but I'm not armed with all of the facts to make that decision," Echols stated. "I don't know everything that the police department had at its disposal"

City Manager Tom Bonfield says the city stands by the officers' actions, and plans to release its internal probe to family.

"It's easy to say what could have been done differently but at the same time it's a bit of a challenge I think for anyone to second guess particularly after you go through and see all of the evidence," Bonfield said.

The family and their supporters say it needs another look.

Read more: Could Durham police shooting gone another way?

"Enough is enough. We're telling Roger Echols to take this thing back through the system," said family supporter Rafiq Zaidi. "Give us some justice."

Shanika Biggs said that if the decision that no law or policy was broken in the shooting, then something needs to change.

The Biggs family announced they are planning a prayer vigil at East Durham Park on May 28.

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