2 Dallas police officers on leave after mentally ill man shot, killed

Print
Email
|

by JENNY DOREN

WFAA

Posted on June 15, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 15 at 3:44 PM

DALLAS — A 38-year-old man was shot and killed in the doorway of his mother's Oak Cliff home Saturday morning by the very people called to help him.

Two Dallas officers are on leave as police investigate the shooting that left 38-year-old Jason Harrison dead.

Investigators are reviewing video from body cameras the officers were wearing at the time of the incident. Sources say it's the first Dallas police shooting captured by body cameras.

The case has raised questions over how calls involving the mentally ill are handled.

“If they did right, it's right,” said David Harrison, Jason's brother, of the officers’ actions. “If they did wrong, let that be acknowledged too. But right now we don't know.”

What exactly happened at the home in the 200 block of Glencairn Drive remains a mystery. David Harrison said he's struggling with the reality that his brother is gone.

"My neighbor said when she got here he was face down in a pool of blood handcuffed," he said.

Dallas police say the shooting started with a call for help late Saturday morning. Harrison's mother called 911 and asked for medical help for her son who suffers from severe mental illness. The woman asked for a specialty team to come to her house and take her son to a hospital for treatment.

"They've been out here over the last 10 years," Jason's brother said.

He said his younger brother lived with their mother and suffered for decades from bipolar disorder, paranoia and schizophrenia.

Police say he walked out of the door Saturday armed with a screwdriver. The two responding officers said they fired at the him when he refused to drop the screwdriver despite orders to do so and then charged at them.

“In my eyes, it looked like they overreacted,” said Harrison’s older brother.

“They don't know what he was capable of doing,” added Deonte Davis, who lives down the street.

He and another of the victim’s long-time neighbors say they knew Harrison was troubled.

“Sometimes he'll just spaz out in the middle of the street while he's walking,” explained Candace Frazier. “He'll be swinging his arms like he's talking to somebody.”

Despite his odd behavior, they say they never felt threatened.

“He’s a good dude,” Davis said. “He just don't have it all.”

Now, Harrison’s family is left questioning whether the tragedy may have been prevented.

“I just really wish that he could have got the help that we really been trying to get for him so that maybe it could of had a different outcome,” Harrison said. “We'll never know.”

Family members says he couldn't get long-time treatment anywhere because he showed no signs of hurting himself or anybody else.

As the investigation continues, some have asked whether there are specially trained officers who respond to calls involving mentally ill people. WFAA asked and sources said there are so many calls that Dallas police trains all their officers, some more than others.

On critical incident calls, two officers are dispatched instead of one. Every officer is given a minimum of 24 hours of training on how to deal with the mentally ill while at the academy. Some officers, about 40 percent of the department, receive more advanced training that takes about a week.

It isn't yet known if the two officers involved in the case received the additional training.

Email jdoren@wfaa.com

 

Print
Email
|