Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

SZ Patient Shot and Killed by Police

Such a sad story that could have been prevented!

We can and must do better as a society in handling troubled minds. Breaks my heart.

Could it have been prevented? Empathsizing with downtrodden people is good. However, being wilfully blind to the fact that this person possessed a gun and had live ammunition and was sending messages to kill others. I fully believe the police were justified to use lethal force. Unfortunate fact for people with schizophrenia but some are indeed dangerous and violent.

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Absolutely not blaming police. My observation is that this poor mom’s choices were very limited. And once she called 911, then the police had very limited choices. I feel like a more comprehensive mental health system could provide more resources and choices for active-crisis management. For example, how about a dart gun to tranquilize dangerous patients mid-episode?

Just sad that our system is not overly helpful to the mentally ill.

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Heartbreaking, it’s a fear for all of us.

Its definitely a fear for us all . The police should shoot with a laser gun to knock them down , not kill them !! The Law needs to change for mental illness .

Why can’t police just shoot people in the leg? It’s always shoot to kill it seems.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this tragedy. It is truly one of a caregiver’s worst nightmares. Any SZ patient, when not properly treated with medications and therapy/coping skills, can derail.

Derailing may look different but seems to involve going homeless, increased use of illegal drugs, and bizarre behavior. And sometimes, as in this sad case, the SZ patient gains access to firearms and becomes an obvious threat to themselves and others.

We’ve long ago locked up any firearms and ammo but my troubled child in his mid to late teens would get a knife, or his weapon of choice - baseballs, to terrorize us. When police had to be called, and I’d explain the situation, they always asked about weapons. They have to. They have more lives at stake than my child’s life. I get it. Fortunately my son had a real fear of the police and would typically go quietly.

In this instance, the SZ patient had already gained access to a weapon and Ammo. And shared direct threats. Even so, the police endured a long, several hour standoff to attempt a peaceful resolution. They tried to introduce mental health experts.

The suffering patient took the situation out of control once they fired the weapon at the officers. Whether or not he was proficient in weapons (could he have hit them?) is unfortunately irrelevant. And his deranged actions, as unfortunate as they were, left the police no available choice.

And therein lies at least one opportunity - could officers in these situations be armed with non-lethal weapons (rubber bullets, tasers, bean bags)? Could they be equipped with dart guns like we use on dangerous animals? Could they be allowed to deploy tear gas canisters? It sure seems like that would be reasonable to ask officers if they’d prefer an alternative to their only current go-to method of ‘shoot to kill’.

It’s an impossibly tragic situation. The poor mom. The tortured, suffering SZ patient. And the responding officers with limited info, training, and appropriate weapons to neutralize a bizarre scenario.

Regardless, sending our thoughts and prayers to one of we 1%’s who face the darkness every day seems appropriate. Big love to this poor mom and deepest condolences for her loss AND to those officers who will wrestle with their actions the rest of their lives. Love wins.

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There are in some areas a protocol in ‘medical care’ that dictate chemical restraint before physical restraint.
Police aren’t trained in this and sadly there are still active accredited medical facilities (hospitals etc…) that apparently still are not as well.
I’ve never advocated police response in mental health situations. Firstly, they are not trained in this way. In my experience, we train our police in a militant fashion, and in a good amount of places for a very good reason.
This is not mental health crisis prevention. And in my humble opinion, negotiations go a long way (who has time for that shit lol) and tranquilizer darts can and should be in a lot of cases more effective. However… the direct administrator of chemicals can cause an innumerable amount of legal issues… if it’s not by proper medically trained personnel. See any legal logistical problems here?

Good points Wisdom. Any interaction between civilians and authorities introduces potential legal issues. When the nature of the engagement is physical risk/danger then the potential risks for all parties expand exponentially. An officer may be shot; an unintended victim could be injured; a mentally unstable, ill person may be misunderstood at a critical moment.

Sorting these multi-faceted situations in real time may not be feasible. Likely, we can’t remove the risks to real-time actions/responses, but we can mitigate them in the latter category with ‘Mental Patient First Responders’ (MPFR). MPFRs can be specifically trained to deal with potentially dangerous scenarios where a clearly ill patient has gone off meds and of frail. They could lead with counsel and not intimidation.

Each area could have an MPFR, like a special tactical team, ready. Or, each precinct could require at least some of their officers become MPFR certified.

I know the police are getting more mental-illness training. And awareness. But your point is spot on- as they are still seeming to default to techniques during stress that are far too aggressive for the situation.

Easy to type on a Forum - much more difficult to enact in real life! But this is our life. And our Forum. Maybe we come up with a better way. Maybe NAMI leads the way.

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Agreed! Unfortunately and sadly given the incident of mass casualties happening in the USA from gun violence and this being our learning experience thus far it seems any time there’s a firearm threat the response will be tactical and intense. (Don’t get me wrong. I myself have actually been victim of police over-the-top violent and aggressively violating my personal and civil rights, came into my home and forcibly abducted me naked out of my own shower. They had the wrong house. They shouldn’t have jobs. I was traumatized. And That’s another story.) But it’s reasonable that when there’s a firearm threat, the response will be led with guns. I’m reminded of at least a couple incidents in my own area just in the last few years. One man, quiet family man with young kids had a psychotic break and barricaded himself in a print shoppe with a rifle and two hostages. I got calls from people who remembered him and had seen it on Facebook. We remembered him from school from childhood. I only knew because the entire swat team was deployed en force and was passing me on the road at that moment. He was eventually talked out and no parties involved were injured, thank god, but it was only last year two officers were shot when they responded to a house where the mother of a man called because her son was acting erratic running around her property with a gun thinking he had to protect her from unseen and unknown pursuers. “Them” he kept referring to. Both officers survived fortunately but one was shot in the neck and one under his arm missing his flack vest and entering his chest cavity. The young officer was touch and go in ICU for awhile but recovered. He chose to leave the force after that siting “trauma” referring to the psychological impact being shot had had on him. The shooter was talked out successfully, even after having shot two officers. This says something I’d say for the officers ability to adapt to a situation even after two of their own had been shot. Success story? Maybe. Lucky? Absolutely.

Stop the presses! Hauled butt naked out of your shower by police with the wrong address??!? Please tell me that you got paid! Wow.