25 year old Santa Cruz MC Almighty Aziz was shot dead by police this past weekend. Link

Aziz James, a graphic artist, grew up in Watsonville and Aptos. He and his group, the Warlordz, had wrapped up a gig at Avalon night club in Santa Clara and were partying with about a dozen people at a house on Crystal Drive early Saturday morning. Around 3 a.m., James called his older brother. “He was jokin’ around, he seemed to be fine then,” Santa Cruz resident Howard James III, a drug rehabilitation counselor, told the Mercury News. But friends say he began acting paranoid and then, Munoz said, he went berserk. James stabbed a friend and jumped through a window, running out of the party. Munoz said people were drinking beer at the party, and perhaps smoking a little pot. But he never knew James to take hard drugs. In fact, James had preached against hard drugs. Munoz can’t understand what happened. “He was frightened,” Munoz said.

James then ran two houses down and entered another by breaking a window, police said. And he also ended up stabbing another friend who came to calm him down. Friends won’t identify the stabbing victims, but said they are both out of the hospital. Aziz had no known criminal record in California. And his brother said he has no known history of mental illness. Friends theorize someone may have spiked James’ drink or marijuana with something stronger. Friends and family say they will lodge a formal protest and complaint against Santa Clara police for their handling of the situation.

When Howard James arrived at the scene about 5 a.m. – his brother had called him at 3:52 a.m. saying there were “people out to kill him” – he tried asking police to go inside and talk his brother down. The answer was no. Finally, at 6 a.m., Howard James saw a police dog go inside the home. “I heard them breaking down the door,” he said. “I heard dogs barking. Then I hear the gunshots. Six fast ones, then two more. Like firecrackers. A police radio barked out: “Shots fired, shots fired.” Paramedics, then fire crews, arrived – and left. But no one came out on a stretcher. “I knew he was dead,” his brother said. “A Sunnyvale cop said, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’

Funeral arrangements are pending.