To the editor: Everyone is in agreement that the shooting of Miguel Estrella was a tragedy. ("Family of Miguel Estrella awaits ‘independent’ report into his fatal shooting by Pittsfield police," Eagle, April 28.)

I would like to share my thoughts and add to the discussion of how to prevent such occurrences.

First, the police might be the last ones to call in such a situation. Friends, relatives, clergy and counselors of one sort or another are usually far better at deescalating than the police.

In a similar case to Estrella's, wouldn't it be better if the police were equipped with shields and lengthy batons? Other nonlethal means of subduing could be used — pepper spray or a net. If a gun has to be used, why not use rubber bullets? Killing a person who needs help has to be taken off the table.

It is essential for police chiefs to institute the training and supply the equipment that can save a disturbed person's life, as well as saving a police officer from the horror of killing a person who needs help.

Paul Graubard, Lenox