PITTSFIELD — When Jacquelyn Sykes called police Sept. 1, she was hoping to get some help for her boyfriend, Daniel Gillis, who was intoxicated and threatening to harm himself.

Minutes later, Gillis was dead, but not by his own hand; he was shot by Pittsfield police Officer Christopher Colello.

"What happened that day was wrong," she said. "It shouldn't have happened; it should not have gone down the way it did."

Sykes, 31, said she is still reeling from the sudden loss of her boyfriend, who was shot seven times outside their Taylor Street home after police said he charged at officers while armed with a knife.

In an interview with The Eagle recently, Sykes lamented that police didn't exhaust whatever other options they had. Why didn't they use nonlethal force such as a Taser? Why wasn't some type of negotiator or mental health counselor brought in to try to defuse the situation?

She wondered why Colello was still on the force after shooting a man during a similar encounter in 2010. And she second-guessed her initial impulse to call police in the first place.

Gillis, 36, showed up at the home, intoxicated, shortly before 1 p.m. that Friday afternoon. Sykes, who was outside at the time, said she saw Gillis kick open the door, which, she said, was not typical behavior.

"He just blacks out and drinks too much. He can't handle his alcohol," she said. "He was just a mess."

Sykes said she was never in fear for her safety, which is one reason she called the department's main line and not 911.

"I said, 'My boyfriend is intoxicated; he's very incoherent and he wants to kill himself. He has a knife to his throat; I need someone to come help me,'" she recalled. "I didn't expect, all of a sudden, eight police officers to be there."

Sykes said she was able to get one knife out of Gillis' hands. "I'm half his size, I'm half his weight, I have no training," she said.

"I came up behind him, I took the knife and I went out the back door," she said. "There was already a cop there with his gun drawn to me."

At some point, Gillis got a second knife and left the house through the back door.

Sykes said Gillis had it at his own throat when officers confronted him in the side yard of the house.

"Nobody tried to talk to him," she said. "They walked toward him like in a U-shape, trying to surround him."

Colello, she said, was last to arrive.

"The last one who came ... was the only one to shoot," she said.

She estimated the time between Colello's arrival and the time the shots were fired at 30 to 45 seconds.

"At first I didn't think that it was gunshots, she said. "I thought that they just used the rubber bullets or their [ballistic] beanbags."

"And then," she said, "I just saw him fall on his face."

Gillis was shot after "charging at officers," according to a statement from the district attorney's office, which said that account was confirmed by a witness.

Sykes said she recalled hearing four shots, an estimate similar to one given by a neighbor shortly after the incident.

According to an autopsy released days later, Colello shot Gillis seven times.

"Seven times is murder. No matter who you are, whether you have a badge or not," Sykes said. "What they did was wrong. There's no way you can flip and turn it to make it be right."

Gillis was given CPR on the scene, then taken to Berkshire Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Sykes said she also couldn't believe it was Colello who fired the fatal shots, noting that he was the same officer involved in a nonfatal shooting of a suspect in 2010.

"I know a lot of people are outraged about it," Sykes said. "I don't think (Colello) should have been on the force again after 2010."

Of the three shootings of suspects by Pittsfield officers since 2010, Colello is responsible for two of them.

In the 2010 incident, Colello responded to a reported domestic incident in Dalton after backup was requested. According to reports in that case, the suspect had made threats to harm a family member and himself before heading into a wooded area.

After locating the suspect, who reportedly challenged officers to shoot him and moved toward them with his hands shoved into his pockets, ignoring orders to stop, Colello fired two shots, striking the suspect.

"I fired these shots because I feared that (suspect) was going to light himself on fire with the lighter I was told he had, or produce the knife which I was told he had, or that he may have another weapon to kill Officer Losaw and me," according to Colello's report.

In a report issued Dec. 9, 2010, the department's Force Investigation Team concluded that Colello acted "reasonably and with departmental policies and procedures when he used deadly force ... in this incident."

Colello, who was placed on paid administrative leave immediately after the September shooting, per department policy, has completed a return-to-duty evaluation and was medically cleared to return to full duty, according to Police Chief Michael Wynn. He was restored to full duty Oct. 2.

An internal Pittsfield Police Department report regarding the shooting has been prepared, but it is being withheld pending the conclusion of the state police investigation.

Sykes asked why officers resorted to the use of deadly force before exhausting nonlethal options like a Taser or pepper spray.

She said she was told those devices aren't always effective on suspects who are highly intoxicated or under the influence of narcotics and that not all officers are outfitted with them.

All the department's officers are trained and certified in the use of Tasers, according to Wynn, but there are not enough for each individual officer.

"Currently, there are 14 Tasers available to be signed out by personnel at the beginning of their shift," the chief said via email. "Due to late calls, calls right at shift change, and other factors, this sometimes results in not every officer on the street having a Taser on their belt,"

Wynn said the department is hoping to be able to provide more Tasers for officers.

"There is an appropriation in this year's budget to obtain additional Tasers. However, this purchase will require an update from our current devices to an upgraded device. This upgrade will require that all of our personnel be retrained before deploying the new devices. The training is scheduled for the year's training cycle and is anticipated being held sometime in the first quarter of 2018," he said.

In the weeks since Gillis was killed, Sykes said things have been "terrible."

"My 5-year-old cries every night for him," she said.

Sykes said she and Gillis knew each other since she was 14 and they have been a couple since October 2014, after he was released from prison after an eight-year sentence on narcotics charges.

Despite his issues with alcohol and time in prison, Sykes described Gillis as "a good guy that did not deserve this."

"(He was) very caring about other people's feelings. If he saw you were hurting, he'd ask you what's wrong," she said. "He genuinely cared about people."

Sykes said she hopes there will be repercussions for the shooting, including Colello being removed from the force.

"He should never be a cop again," she said.

While she blames Colello for her boyfriend's death, Sykes feels she also shares some responsibility.

"I question myself every day, like 'Why did I call?'" she said. "I probably will never call the police for anything ever again, which is sad to say, because they're supposed to be here to help.

"And," she said, "I never viewed law enforcement like that. Ever."

Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.