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Mentally Ill Man Shot Dead By Police, Family Blames System

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posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 07:45 PM
This isn't a cop bashing thread (sorry), but rather, to educate people regarding mental illness, the rights of a mentally ill person, and the misconceptions people have about what mental health agencies can, and cannot, do.

Let's start with the story (and if it has been posted before, despite my search, Mods, do your stuff).

A routine welfare check by the Midland County Mental Health Unit ended in a fatal shooting on Monday.

KOSA in Midland is reporting that 49-year-old Rosendo Gino Rodriquez was shot by police when he attempted to attack officers with a machete.

Midland police say workers with the mental health unit were executing a regular welfare check when Rodriquez became aggressive and barricaded himself inside his home.

Midland police initially tried to use non-lethal force to subdue the man, but he was swinging the machete in a tight space. He hit an officer with the weapon and the officers responded with deadly force.

The family says Rodriquez had a history of mental problems and had been confined to a mental institution back in October.

The officers involved in the shooting are now on administrative leave pending an investigation.

As I saw it on the news this morning, the family was angry at mental health.

Family of man contacted CBS 7 saying he had mental health problems.

“We’ve tried to get my dad mental help for a long time,” the man’s daughter said. “We tried to get him admitted. The only way that could ever happen was for him to be a danger to himself or others.”

Family members say their father had not been on medication. Monday’s welfare check was intended to talk the man into taking his medication.

The family tells CBS 7 the man was admitted forcefully to a mental health facility in October, but the only way he could stay was if family pressed charges against the man.

They feel faults in the system is what ultimately led up to the tragic end of Monday’s stand-off.

Texas Rangers are now investigating the case.

Per protocol to Midland Police, two officers involved in the shooting are now on administrative leave pending the investigation.
Because I am a mental health worker, as well as a crisis worker who sometimes has to deal with some pretty scary stuff, this situation had a very negative outcome. HOWEVER.....The family is blaming 'the system', after admitting on television that he had not been taking his psych meds for months. They blame mental health for not magically making him take his meds, or by keeping him in a hospital permanently.

First of all, a routine check in which a client becomes hostile will necessitate an immediate call for law enforcement, as we have no way to protect ourselves, and if we feel the situation is dangerous, we won't go in...period.

Secondly, the law states that even a mentally ill person doesn't have to take meds if they don't want to. Trying to talk a client into taking their meds is often unsuccessful. The family is typically more likely to have success because they see the person every day and the client has more trust in family members, as a rule.

Thirdly, ANYBODY wielding a machete once the cops show up most likely will end up dead or severely injured. I would like to see cops use a tranq gun and tranquilize the client, but then one person will have a bad reaction and the family will sue, so.....

This happens quite a bit. Mental health can only assist a client if they want the help, and nobody stays in a mental hospital permanently anymore. This is what drugs are for. The family stating that he would only be kept in the hospital if the family pressed charges...well, that's a no-brainer, isn't it? Obviously he has homicidal tendencies, and if they thought he should be kept hospitalized, maybe they should have pressed charges.

We have no magic words to stop psychosis. We cannot stop somebody in a homicidal rage, and most know that what they are doing is wrong, but they're so out there they just go with it. We also cannot force any medication on anybody. We are there to help, and to assess if the person needs to go to a hospital to straighten them back out (usually with meds), then they are released.

Mental health is severely underfunded, and nobody wants to deal with mentally ill people. We don't have enough hospital beds for those who do not have insurance or Medicaid. If the client is non-compliant, they will become 'frequent fliers", often going back into the hospital many times, getting straightened out, and then they stop taking them and the cycle continues.

I feel bad this guy was shot by the cops, but they will treat any homicidal individual, mentally ill or not, the same. As for me, I always make sure the situation is secure and I use the police a lot, because you don't know what you're walking into. I'm not sure how the cops could have handled this any better. Had they exited out and let the guy hack himself to death, then the family would blame them for that. Confusing situation all the way around.

Families, if you have severely mentally ill people in your family who are not med compliant, please don't blame us. Ask yourself how you can help this family member take their meds, especially if they become psychotic or dangerous when not on them. When people who were diagnosed as mentally ill won the right, by law, to be treated exactly as everybody else, they also won the responsibility as everybody else, to either take their meds, or deal with their illness.

posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 07:55 PM
a reply to: FissionSurplus

It's a tough situation for all involved.

The mentally ill individual, the family of the individual and the public officials that may end up having to get involved.

It's a no win situation really.

I don't really want to comment much more because I've been in many situations involving mentally ill relatives, loved ones and neighbors so, I can see all sides.

I prefer to not get flamed based on my experiences and the opinions I've formed based on such experiences.

It's really sad....the whole thing.

posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 07:55 PM
It is a sad situation. It is understandable from the officers' standpoint. Ideally they could have used non-lethal force. The fact of the matter is that if you go swinging a blade at a cop, you will get shot. They are trained a certain way and react according to their training.
The way to minimize these situations is to change the training. A shot of pepper spray and a stick could have defused this situation without a fatality.

posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 08:17 PM
I do believe that police need to be trained to handle mentally ill individuals, since the jails are full of them. They always call us to make the call as to whether or not the person exhibits mental illness symptoms.

If this situation was the other way around, and the man killed a cop, the plea would be NGI (Not Guilty by reason of Insanity). Unfortunately, according to the law, the only way to successful cop this plea would be to prove that the perpetrator indeed did not know right from wrong at the time he or she committed the crime.

I definitely see a lot of very mentally ill people who still have somewhat of a moral compass, and they are aware that hurting others is definitely wrong. The vast majority of them tend to simply hurt themselves instead as they don't want to hurt others. One who is homicidal is definitely more rare, but infinitely more dangerous. And YES, those also know that hurting others is wrong, but the voices in their heads tell them to do it anyway.

posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 08:41 PM
this is just sad

he probly did not need to die

he did tho hit a cop with a machettie if im wrong but i thats about how i read it

if it where me id shoot him

playing the other side tho wheres the beanbag rounds

flashbangs pepper spray and any other things

no level of crazzy would resist a flashbang and some pepperspray fallowed bye a beanbag round

yes it is posible he could of died from that but a gun will do far more damage

if cops have a policy to engauge the insane they must have a sop for it aswell

shooting someone without a gun is unreasionable dont get that close time+proper meshures would make almost all thease situations non lethal

i sopose the cops dont have time idk who to blame for that if its anything like most jobs than yea its above the cop and on managment

one thing iv learned its the worker is almost never at fault but managment

posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 09:55 PM
its a bummer but thats the breaks i guess.

i suppose you cant force someone who is mentally ill to take their meds.

cant really expect him to keep on living after he tuned someone up with a machete though.

of course the family is going to blame the system though.
nothing is ever anyones fault. its always someone elses fault

maybe if they were worried about daddy taking his meds they should have had him committed. then he would have been forced to take them and he would be alive.

i see where it says they tried to have him admitted but you have to be a danger to yourself or others

seems to me like he was...
i wouldnt think something like that would be too hard to prove, especially if he is off his meds...
i dont know how the laws are from state to state but in ohio, if youre brought in to a hospital and mention that youre gonna hurt yourself or others, or if your family says that about you, thats an automatic 48hrs in the ward for an evaluation.

from there im sure the trained professionals would see the score and admit him.

this is not the first time a mentally ill person has been killed by the cops. if the mentally ill person would have killed someone it wouldnt be the first time for that either.

no real perfect solution.
except maybe the family could have made sure mentally ill daddy didnt have a blade.
that would have been a good first step.

if families can make sure food is locked up in the case of prader willies then a family can make sure there are no accessible weapons
edit on 2-12-2014 by Grovit because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 09:56 PM
a reply to: FissionSurplus

The police deal with a lot of mentally impaired people because of being drunk, or being on drugs, being in a rage, etc..
I don't think they need extra training. I think that if they implement the training they already have then that should be enough. This guy wasn't taking his meds. Insane and swinging a weapon at police. Enough grounds for self-defense.

I do think the big mistake was shutting down almost all the mental institutions and putting these guys on the street.

This man lived in Midland, Texas? That should tell you right there he was insane.
I've been to Midland.

posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 10:30 PM

I have to play devil's advocate here. (Really, I saw the devil once, and he really did need someone to speak for him at the time, but that's a completely different story now.)

There are mentally ill people out there. I have two in my own family. I won't give their case details here, but Des could verify the deets.

My sister was probated by my parents twice. Hearing voices, bi-polar, yadda, yadda. She was even allowed to sign a non-disclosure agreement with her "providers", therefore nullifying any information the providers could tell my parents about her progress. HIPPA was the best thing ever!

After 2 weeks "under observation", they let them back out on the streets. My own sister didn't take her meds, and withdrew farther and farther. She invented an imaginary husband, and posted signs in her windows, classic crazy hermit stuff.

I'll agree, most crazy people are non-violent. She had guns in the house, but knew nothing about using them.

Legally, there was nothing we could do. Stalemate.


She quit her job of 27 years as a medical clerk. She decided she wanted to be a fire-fighter, and enrolled in a class.

Quitting a job that pays the bills is a sure sign of mental illness.

That wasn't enough. It had to go further.

She started stalking members of the community, and making weird online profiles before her internet was shut off. She then walked miles after she sold her car for scrap, even though it was just out of gas, delivering poster boards on door steps of assorted images.

The locals called the police. The police informed the court. The court called my mom and dad, and they responded that we've done this twice, and that nothing was ever solved. The court begged my mom and dad to sign the paperwork, only because now they had public pressure. They did.

That was 2 years ago, and my sis is medicated, serene, and ready to move into her own apartment.

IF she continues to take her meds. IF AND ONLY IF!

posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 11:24 PM
I have paranoid schizophrenia and my parents had me hospitalized. I wouldn't take my meds when I was in the hospital I was spitting them out when no one was looking. I got caught and one day a nurse came into my room with two big orderlies. They forced me to take an injection. They said we can do this the easy way or the hard way. I spent a month in the psyche ward.

At the time I was in a psychosis and had no clue what was going on. I was highly paranoid and psychotic. To me everyone was out to get me. I thought they were trying to poison me that's why I was spitting the med's out. I was so paranoid I quit eating.

After the injection it brought me out of it. I was so drugged all I could do is sleep 23 hours a day. The only time I got up was to eat and go to the bathroom.

When I got out of the hospital I stopped all meds. I couldn't take the side effects. Antipsychotic drugs are down right horrible. It is a frontal lobotomy in a pill. If it weren't for finding a drug that I could tolerate I probably would have killed myself.

While in a psychosis under certain circumstances I could be violent. Not so much to maliciously hurt someone but more out of defense. When your that paranoid and afraid your basic survival instincts kick in it fight or flight. I've had hallucinations and delusions to the point I thought people were trying to kill me. I also had thoughts that I should do them in before they get me.

When I was coming down with schizophrenia my parents didn't know what was wrong with me. No one did not even the doctors because I wasn't having hallucinations at the time. I was having major delusions though. My mom bought a hamster she though it might help with the situation when I was becoming ill. I was so far gone that one night I contemplated doing the hamster in because I thought it was in on the conspiracy.

When I got out of the hospital my report said my long term prognoses was very poor. My mom saw to it that I took my medications every night. She litterally watched me take them. I got better and ended up getting a job. Eventually I got my own apartment and all that stuff. I worked and lived on my own for years. It's been 18 years since my last hospitalization and I still take my medications every night.

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 06:05 PM
Thanks y'all for sharing your personal stories.

I understand how people really do not like antipsychotics, even the newer atypical antipsychotics tend to have some weird side effects (feeling like a zombie, being overly sedated, and gynecomastia, or man boobs), is just some of the unpleasantries associated with the meds. FYI, the injection Invega, for the very severe cases of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, is a once-a-month injection which seems to work miracles for a lot of people. Not pushing the drug, just my own opinion.

I often see people that are very paranoid and delusional, and later, do not remember anything that happened during their breakdown, and hospitals will force medication, but as for people out on their own, they cannot be forced. If they stop taking their meds and their family waits until they're in full psychosis, swinging dangerous weapons or walking across a busy freeway, often, it ends up being too late.

And YES, many mentally ill people also do a hell of a lot of drugs. They'll say they hate to take pills and then stay up for 5 days smoking meth, synthetic weed and drinking straight alcohol. When they run out of money, drugs, etc., they will call crisis to be hospitalized because the come down is bad and they know if they go to the ER, they'll get some nice Ativan while they wait to be sent somewhere. It's VERY difficult to feel badly for somebody smoking synthetic weed until he poops himself, then sits in his own poop and keeps smoking until he is a zombie.....these people don't bathe or shower too often, either. I'm often grateful I have allergies and usually my nose is stuffy.


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