Family: Son would be alive if he had gotten help

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Family members of a Kansas City man fatally shot by police believe the Iraq War veteran would still be alive if there had been enough space at the local Veterans Administration hospital for him to receive help for the mental trauma he sustained in combat.

Issac Sims, 26, was killed Sunday after pointing a rifle at police officers following a five-hour standoff at his family’s east side home, The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/1jwwdW5) reported. Only days earlier he had been told it would be 30 days before a bed would be available at the VA Medical Center in Kansas City, where a court had ordered him to go into treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after a domestic violence conviction.

“All he needed was help,” said Rick Jackson, Sims’ neighbor and friend who on Sunday had begged the former paratrooper to put down the weapon. “He didn’t need to die.”

Police received a call just before noon Sunday of a disturbance involving an emotionally disturbed person. Upon arrival they heard shots being fired inside, according to the police report, and a witness said Sims had aimed the rifle at his father and fired a shot toward her with a handgun.

Adrian Sims told officers his son had pointed the weapon at the ground.

When police first arrived at his house, Adrian Sims said he informed them that his son suffered from PTSD. He said he told them, “Don’t shoot my son.”

But Adrian Sims, Jackson and everyone else in the vicinity were whisked away from the area after police arrived and didn’t see what happened afterward.

Patricia Sims said her son had been ordered to undergo treatment at the VA Medical Center as part of his probation through the Kansas City Municipal Court Veterans’ Treatment Court program, after pleading guilty April 30 to domestic assault.

Patricia Sims said she thought it was a great program and praised the court’s judge, Ardie Bland.

“We are saddened by such a tragic loss,” Bland said in a written statement. “Our hearts must now go out to the family of Mr. Sims with our prayers and support.”

The VA hospital in Kansas City released a written statement about the situation, but would not discuss Sims’ case specifically.

“We are aware of this tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this very difficult time. We are unable to comment on an ongoing police investigation or on care provided to a particular veteran. However, we want to encourage any veteran (or their family member) who has questions or concerns about the attention or services they are receiving to contact the Kansas City VA Medical Center Director’s Office,” the statement read.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

 

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