WAXAHACHIE, Texas – Lorenzo Zarate is a 32-year-old combat veteran who served in Iraq and was featured in The New York Times and on MTV.
Now, he's been charged with three felonies in Ellis County after a terrifying event at a local hospital that took place Saturday.
“With the nightmares when those are triggered, it’s a quick spiral down,” said Mindy Moser, a PTSD expert who runs a non-profit called We Six See, LLC. “Other people don’t understand that even 10 years after the horrors of combat, they're still dealing with it.”
Police say Saturday night, Zarate sparked a lockdown at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Waxahachie after he entered the emergency room holding a gun to a child. A negotiator finally convinced him about 10 minutes later to put the gun down, according to the probable cause affidavit. But Lorenzo suddenly turned and tried to pull a weapon from an officer’s holster, the document explained.
Zarate, a U.S. Army veteran, was photographed in 2003 in Tikrit, Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s hometown. The image ran in the New York Times.
He was also an aspiring rapper and public about the PTSD he brought back from his time in a warzone.
MTV profiled Zarate in a 2008 documentary called "Choose or Lose & Kanye West Present: Homecoming,” which focused on soldiers coping with the disorder.
Kanye West surprised Zarate at his Austin home in that 2008 program and took the veteran backstage to a concert where he and his wife met Rhianna.
The New York Times quoted Zarate in the documentary saying: “The Army could teach you to kill, kill, kill but they can’t teach you to come back home and be a civilian.”
Four years later, in 2012, Zarate told the Austin American-Statesman: “Mentally, I’m not right. I live in paranoia. Since I can’t hold my job, I have to live in poverty.”
“I am not surprised,” added Moser.
She trains law enforcement how to approach veterans with PTSD.
“Every fiber of his being has taught him to live the Army way," she said. "And when that's taken from you and you transition out and you’re no longer with your unit and brothers and sisters, life is foreign."
It's another high profile incident that potentially resulted from the trauma of war.
Zarate is a soldier who survived combat but has apparently yet to recover from the moral injuries inflicted.
No motive was given for what he's accused of on Saturday.
Police charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, terroristic threats and attempting to take a weapon from an officer. He's been jailed in Ellis County in lieu of a $200,000 bond.
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