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Learning from tragedy

We hope that someday Lukus Glenn's mother will come to understand that her call to 911 earlier this month was not a mistake. The Tigard woman did what any parent would do. She attempted to help her child in a time of dire need.

Instead, her 18-year-old son, Lukus, drunk, distraught and possibly suicidal, ended up dead, fatally shot by two Washington County deputies as he ran toward his parents' home, carrying a 3-inch knife.

The deputies actions have been second-guessed by members of the public, the media and the family. That's understandable, if frustrating for the officers. There is, however, an official investigation into the incident, and we urge people to let that take its course.

We expect that in the end, we'll learn that the officers reached a point where, based on their training, they had no choice but to shoot. And that's where he discussion should resume: How can we respond to what seems to have been a mental health crises, fueled by alcohol, without officers ending up with a child in their sights.

We expect the answer will involve more training and, perhaps, more personnel. That's what's happened in Portland, where the police bureau set up a Crisis Intervention Team more than a decade ago. At that point, county officials can have the uncomfortable debate whether the cost is worth the payoff, but no one should ever have to have second thoughts about dialing 911.