Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Killing yourself with a cop's gun

Weak treatment laws often require a person to be a danger to themselves or others before getting involuntary treatment. As we often lament on this blog, this keeps the mental health community from intervening because the person is not yet dangerous, and forces law enforcement to become involved when a person finally deteriorates to that condition.

Occasionally, these encounters with law enforcement become “suicide by cop.”

According to family members, that was the case on Monday when Guy Ray III held four women hostage in a Louisville, Kentucky bank. After releasing the hostages, Ray emerged from the bank waving what turned out to be an air rifle at officers. Ray died of multiple gunshot wounds.

According to his sister Ray had been on and off medication for his mental illness that he had struggled with most of his life.

Guy Ray III left police no choice but to shoot him when he came out of a bank Monday and threatened them with a firearm.

“[He] was there to make it happen. He had a goal. He was going to force them to shoot him."

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