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IMPORTANT & BREAKING: FAMILIES IN MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS ACT INTRODUCED

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MENTAL ILLNESS TRAGEDIES IN SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA THAT MIGHT HAVE PREVENTED IF LAURA’S LAW HAD BEEN  IMPLEMENTED

Date: 9/2011
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: On September 6, 2011, 32-year-old Sean Ogle was fatally shot by Sacramento police. Ogle became upset inside a small market when he was unable to buy ice cream and soda with an EBT card, an electronic version of food stamps, because the card was empty. He used a bat to hit an ATM inside the store after trying to withdraw cash from the machine. Then he went outside and bashed a window at Crepeville restaurant. Shortly after that, police responded to a call about a man wielding a baseball bat. The first officer on the scene drew his gun and ordered Ogle to drop the bat, but Ogle refused and continued to walk north on 24th toward Broadway. The officer fatally shot Ogle when he turned and threatened him. Friend said that Ogle suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which could disrupt his thinking, especially when he was without his prescription medications. They said they noticed an escalation of his symptoms in the past year.
Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, 9/8/11, 10/24/11; RanSACedkedmedia.com, 9/8/11

Date: 12/2009
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: On December 9, 2009, a Sacramento County sheriff's deputy fatally shot 35-year-old Giat Van Truong. Truong had called the Sheriff's Department to report a dispute with a roommate, whom he wanted deputies to remove, said sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran. About an hour and a half later, a sergeant showed up at the complex and learned that Truong's reportedly troublesome roommate was his mother, Curran said. The sergeant alleged Truong began physically struggling with him. He reported using pepper spray and a collapsible baton to subdue Truong. He said Truong grabbed the baton and struck the him at least once in the head. "Fearing he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury," the sergeant fired multiple shots at Truong, striking him in the upper body and killing him, Curran said. Billy Truong said Giat, his youngest brother, suffered from schizophrenia and sometimes broke down or hallucinated when he didn't take his medication. He said his brother usually got along with their 80-year-old mother, who cared for him, and speculated that his brother probably forgot to take his medication triggering the dispute. Subsequent History: On February 26, 2010, the family of Giat Van Truong, a mentally ill man shot by a Sacramento County Sheriff's sergeant, filed a lawsuit against the department and county officials in federal court, alleging that the sergeant's excessive use of force led to the wrongful death of Giat Van Truong. According to the lawsuit, Truong was in "a state of apparent hallucination," suffering from schizophrenia. The suit said Truong, who lived with his 78-year-old mother, asked the sergeant to leave because "there was no actual threat to him and his mother." The suit alleged that the sergeant pulled out his firearm, pointed at Truong and yelled at him to retreat to his residence. When Truong's mother tried to calm her son down, the sergeant allegedly pointed his firearm at her and ordered her to leave the scene. The suit continued to say that she heard multiple gunshots before she returned to see her son bleeding on the ground. The suit maintains that Truong was unarmed "at all times" and "posed no threat of physical harm" to the sergeant. The suit also alleges that deputies used excessive force when they struck Truong's brother, Bieu "Billy" Van Truong, with Tasers when he showed up later at the scene wanting to see his brother and mother. Billy Truong was later cited for resisting authorities. Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, 12/10/09, 3/3/10

RecordID: 5446
Date: 5/2010
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: On May 2, 2010, Tracy Sinclair Feather called police to report she wanted to kill herself. She emerged from her home with a knife but later said she had no intention of harming anyone but herself. Police tasered her and then arrested her. Feather was one of thousands of residents who lost access to county mental health programs that were discontinued due to budget cuts. Among the programs cut was a crisis center that Feather would call when she felt desperate or suicidal. Subsequent History: In August 2010, Feather was ordered to treatment at Heritage Oaks Hospital after pleading no contest to a charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon, her lawyer said. The 48-year-old Feather was admitted to the Sacramento psychiatric hospital after agreeing to enter the no contest plea in exchange for spending 180 days undergoing treatment. The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office had demanded a guilty plea to the felony charge before it would agree to Feather's release to a private facility. The defense lawyer said she did not believe her client was guilty of the charge, but she felt compelled to agree to the plea bargain to get Feather psychiatric help outside the jail. While in Sacramento County's Main Jail downtown, Feather's mental state had been deteriorating rapidly. She repeatedly tried to harm herself and attempted suicide at least twice.Source Of Information: Yolo Judicial Watch, 8/21/10; Sacramento Bee, 8/22/10

Date: 3/1988
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Kim Minor, who, when unmedicated, had a history of agitation and psychosis, died during a scuffle at the Sacramento Mental Health Center. A security guard apparently applied a chokehold too aggressively. Minor's family had taken him to the Center when Minor's condition had deteriorated as a result of his not taking his medication. Family members had not been permitted to enter the room where Minor, who had become agitated, was struggling. Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, May 26, 1991

Date: 3/2004
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Carrisa Rolfe, 24, a woman with paranoid schizophrenia, was found on March 19, 2004 in a Sacramento, CA hotel room with her neck broken. Marks on her neck indicated she had been choked, and an unknown assailant ransacked her room. Rolfe was paralyzed from the attack and placed on a respirator. Months before her attack, Rolfe had been committed to the American River Behavioral Health Center after abandoning her medications and allowing drug addicts to take over her one-bedroom apartment. Her stay in the facility, where staff made sure she ate and took her medications, changed all that and she improved enough to convince a judge she was capable of caring for herself independently. On Nov. 14, 2003 she went to court to challenge her father's conservatorship. A judge ruled that her previous history of life-threatening behaviors was irrelevant, and terminated the conservatorship. Prior History: Rolfe was placed on an emergency psychiatric hold when she hit her younger sister in 2000. Mental health professionals found her in need of additional treatment, so she was sent to a private hospital. On her release, twice she almost overdosed on drugs, her own and a tranquilizer for the family dog. On October 2000, her father became her conservator. She did well in a board-and-care home, but it was her father's responsibility, by law, to place her "in the least restrictive environment" possible. She and another woman then moved into their own apartment. Drug users eventually took over the apartment, stole her things and beat her up, while Rolfe ignored her need for medications and began drinking and using street drugs. Her father eventually committed her to a locked facility, where she improved with proper treatment and medication. Source Of Information: The Sacramento Bee, April 11 & 13, 2004

Date: 1/2001
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Michael Bowers, 37, who had held a job with Salt Lake City-based Dick Simon Trucking for 10 days, rammed his big rig into the California State Capitol Building. He died of smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation, and subsequently was incinerated when the truck burst into flames, said Sacramento County Coroner Paul Smith. The mentally ill former prison inmate apparently was upset over his souring relationship with his new wife and didn't like his job with the trucking company. He apparently picked the Capitol as a target of opportunity to vent his anger at his life and at the prison and mental health systems he blamed for keeping him locked up much of his adult life. Authorities said Bowers suffered from a schizo-affective disorder that gave him grandiose and fantastic delusions. His mother, Sharon Bowers, 60, told reporters her son was fine when he took his psychotropic medication, but was threatening without it. Source Of Information: The Associated Press, January 19, 2001

Date: 10/2009
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: On October 21, 2009, Quran Mahammed Jones fatally beat his roommate, 23-year-old Scott Gregory Hawkins with a baseball bat in their dorm room at California State University, Sacramento. The two had been fighting. Police then shot Jones after he came at them with a knife. Both students were taken to hospitals, where Hawkins was pronounced dead. Witnesses who called 911 said they saw Jones barricaded in the dorm suite, bashing the walls with a baseball bat, breaking furniture and hitting himself. Hawkins’ father said he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder. Subsequent History: On May 15, 2012, the 22-year-old Jones was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for killing Hawkins. Jones is was to be sent to Napa State Hospital, where he could remain for the rest of his life. He would only serve a prison term if doctors found him competent. An evaluation by two court-appointed psychiatrists found Jones to be legally insane, having suffered from schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder at the time of the attack. Source Of Information: NBCBayArea.com, 10/22/09, Sacramento Bee, 4/13/12; Mercury News, 5/16/12

Date: 6/2010
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: On June 11, 2010, 26-year-old Anthony Alvarez, who had been holding his female cousin’s 16-month-old baby boy, Michael Pittman Jr., hostage in a barricaded Sacramento apartment complex for several days, was fatally shot by police. Police used an explosive charge to make a hole and create a line of sight into the apartment where Alvarez had been barricaded since June 9. After the device went off, Alvarez presented himself, engaged the officer and was shot multiple times. Alvarez did not fire on police and was pronounced dead at the scene. Michael suffered only an abrasion on his leg and was taken to a hospital as a precaution. According to Tessa Alvarez, her brother suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. She said her brother was not taking his antipsychotic medication, which helped him to not hear voices. The standoff began when authorities attempted to arrest Alvarez. He was wanted in the investigation of three armed robberies in the San Francisco Bay area and for allegedly firing at an officer in Concord on June 4. San Francisco police investigating a homicide also wanted to speak with him. Alvarez exchanged gunfire with authorities on several occasions during the standoff. Subsequent History: On July 9, 2011, the Sacramento District Attorney released a report saying the shooting of Alvarez was lawful, and the six officers who returned fire or initiated fire at the suspect were justified in using deadly force. Alvarez was identified as the suspect in a bank robbery in Concord back on May 19, 2010. Investigators also suspected him in the stabbing death of another man in San Francisco in April 2010. In June, officers tried to pull over Alvarez in Pleasant Hill; Alvarez ran off, shooting at officers as he fled. No one was hit, and Alvarez got away. Source Of Information: The Associated Press, 6/10/10, 6/12/10; Sacramento Press, 6/10/10; ABC 13 News, 6/11/10; Fox 40 News, 7/15/11

Date: 3/2009
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: On March 8, 2009, Andreas Tillman, a parolee who had been out of prison barely two weeks crashed his car into two other vehicles along the Capital City Freeway, then slugged a California Highway Patrol officer into unconsciousness before he was subdued with Taser guns. Tillman, 39, had been to prison three times since 2002 before his most recent release, all on convictions for driving under the influence, according to Sacramento County court records. CHP officials said they received several calls around 12:55 p.m. of a reckless driver swerving across all the lanes of the eastbound freeway south of Watt Avenue before rendering his car inoperable after colliding with the two other vehicles. When they arrived, officers found Tillman and his father, Junius Andrus Tillman, 59, walking down the freeway with a pit bull, arguing with each other. The officers took the elder Tillman into custody. When the younger man ordered his dog to attack police, they Tasered him. Unfazed by the jolt, Andreas Tillman pulled the prongs out of his body and then went after one of the officers and knocked him out. Several more officers who then arrived shot Tillman again with their Tasers and subdued him. He was treated at Sutter Roseville Medical Center for a cut to the head and later was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on felony assault on an officer and other charges, Dutton said. The officer whom Tillman struck was treated at a local hospital and released. Tillman's mother, Terry Tillman Brown, that her son is an Army veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm, the first Iraq war. She said her son has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that he also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Brown said her son had not slept in the two weeks since he was released from the Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy, where he had been most recently incarcerated on a parole violation. She said he has talked about suicide and that the family had been trying to get him committed into a Veterans Affairs hospital. "He was not in his right mind," Brown said. Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, 3/9/09

Date: 11/2002
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Paul Muskeni, 35, has been charged with arson in a November 2002 fire at a Sacramento motel. He has no prior criminal record and remains at the Sacramento County jail, despite his mental illness. His mother, Maggie McGurk, says that Muskeni was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia eleven years ago and has been in hospitals and out, on the streets, in motels, at home, and running away - sometimes medicated, often not. When medicated, she says, he is kind and gentle. Without medication, he can be erratic and menacing - periodically threatening to kill her. McGurk said her son functioned fairly well while he was under conservatorship and medication was supervised. But Muskeni found a lawyer last year in Los Angeles who got the conservatorship terminated. The young man then bounced through five more hospitals - including a final stop in Sacramento, where McGurk said hospital officials released him without pursuing a new conservatorship for him. Source Of Information: Scripps Howard News Service, January 9, 2003

Date: 12/1997
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Scott James Wells, 36, a former model and television actor, terrorized his apartment complex's tenants in December 1997. Wells had allegedly been talking to himself for weeks in December and exhibiting what his fellow residents described as bizarre behavior. Deputies were summoned when Wells threatened residents and broke out windows, and he was taken to the county mental health facility. He was evaluated and released and returned to the complex, where he continued to terrorize residents with a knife and vandalize property. The police then took him to jail on misdemeanor charges of brandishing a weapon. The apartment manager filed for a temporary restraining order in late December to keep Wells away from the complex, but the request was denied until a hearing could be held in January. Wells was served with an eviction notice, but had a 30-day grace period before he had to leave his apartment. Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, January 1, 1998

Date: 3/1999
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Caleb Murr, 16, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was charged with rape and sexual assault and with burying his cousin, Melanie Lynn Murr, alive after bludgeoning her with a baseball bat and a crowbar on March 6, 1999. Murr did not survive. According to the article, the youth had dreams of murdering Murr for months before the slaying, but failed to seek help because he feared the stigma of being known as mentally ill. The defense psychiatrist testified that the boy had lapsed into psychosis after engaging in what he described as consensual sex with Murr, and has little memory of the incident. Murr will be tried in adult court and faces a possible sentence of life in prison without parole. Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, July 24, 1999 Sacramento Bee, October 5, 1999 Sacramento Bee, October 14, 1999

Date: 11/2002
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Jessica Antoinette Nagy, 23, is charged in the stabbing death of David Crawford, 54, on November 10, 2002 in Sacramento, CA. Crawford, whose body was found in his home, was stabbed 60 to 70 times with two pairs of scissors, according to testimony in the preliminary hearing. Nagy claims she killed the popular continuation high school teacher in a rage after he raped her, and accused him of having sex with her underage sister, an allegation which has not been proven. Nagy's mother and her friends have said that Nagy has a history of mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and multiple-personality disorder. She was ordered Tuesday to stand trial for murder and remains in custody without bail. She will return to court March 25 to set a trial date. Source Of Information: The Sacramento Bee, March 5, 2003

Date: 11/2001
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: In November 2001, Ernesto Fuentes strangled his cellmate, Robert Andrews, to death at California State Prison-Sacramento. Fuentes was serving time for voluntary manslaughter at the time. The guards who found Fuentes strangling Andrews in the pair's cell had to use pepper spray to get him off, according to District Attorney Jan Scully. Subsequent History: Fuentes, 28, was found not guilty by reason of insanity as part of a plea agreement in August 2004. He was committed to a hospital for the criminally insane for life. He will be returned to state prison to serve 25 years to life if his doctors ever deem him sane, as part of a separate agreement under which he pleaded guilty to assaulting a prison officer during his July trial, Scully said. The plea agreement was reached after a psychiatric evaluation showed he had been treated for paranoid schizophrenia since he was a teenager and attempted to commit suicide while in prison. Source Of Information: San Luis Obispo Tribune - September 14, 2004

Date: 6/2005
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Lalesh Kumar, a 31-year-old man with mental illness, entered his neighbor's apartment in Sacramento, CA and attacked 33-year-old Virginia Pulido and her 3-year-old son, Ramiro with a meat cleaver. Both died of their injuries. The night of the attack, June 11, 2005, police responded to a 911 call of a man beating a woman. Officers forced their way into Pulido's apartment, saw the bloodied victims and then saw Kumar jump out of a second-story window. The officers chased him through the apartment complex, and demanded that he drop the meat cleaver. When Kumar advanced toward them, the officers shot him several times and then shot him with a Taser stun gun to get him to release the cleaver. Kumar was wounded but survived. Family friend Allan Morrison said Pulido did not know Kumar personally, but said he was confrontational and occasionally pounded on her door to complain about noise. Prior History: Police were called in November 2004 to Kumar's parents' residence, one floor below Pulido's apartment. Kumar's parents said their son was acting bizarrely and wouldn't leave. Kumar was placed on a mental-illness hold and stayed at a mental health facility for a week. Kumar also was arrested in January, 2005 on suspicion of grand theft, and after missing an April 2005 court appearance for the charge, a $10,500 warrant was issued for his arrest.
Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, June 14, 2005

Date: 3/2006
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Jonathan Ralph Lee Jr., 25, accused of murdering his Happy Valley stepfather and attacking his mother with a decorative martial arts sword was ordered on August 10 to be committed to Napa State Hospital, possibly for life. Lee, who had been deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial, was ordered committed by retired Del Norte Superior Court Judge Frank Petersen. Lee is said to be suffering from delusional behavior and will be treated with anti-psychotic medication. He still could stand trial for murder and other related charges if he is ever found mentally competent, said Shasta County Senior Deputy District Attorney Brent Ledford. Lee was charged with murder, attempted murder, aggravated mayhem and 17 enhancements in connection with the March 30 attack on his stepfather and mother at the couple's Happy Valley home. Barry Alan Smith, 50, a retired California Highway Patrol officer, bled to death after being stabbed 18 times, while 48-year-old Deena Smith was hit in the face and back of the head with the sword, law enforcement officials have said.
Source Of Information: The Redding Record Searchlight, August 11, 2006

Date: 11/2004
Location: Elk Grove, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Richard Zaragoza, a 40-year-old mentally ill man from Elk Grove, CA, died on November 8, 2004 after a struggle with Sacramento County sheriff's deputies. Zaragoza's family had called police because he was tearing boards off a fence at midnight. Responding officers tried to take him in for a mental health assessment, but Zaragoza reportedly walked out of the room saying, "I am not a criminal". Police then tried to subdue him with a Taser gun, pepper spray and handcuffs. Zaragoza died in the struggle. Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, November 11, 2004

Date: 9/1999
Location: Laguna Creek, Sacramento, CA
Summary: John Stephen Tinker, then 48, allegedly stabbed and killed his wife, Mary Elizabeth Tinker, 51, in the doorway of their home on September 30, 1999. Tinker, who was tried for first-degree murder, was convicted of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter after the jury heard Tinker testify about his mental illness. He is eligible for parole in four years. Tinker told jurors he was suffering from an adverse reaction to anti-psychotic medication, bipolar disorder and other ailments. Before the murder, Tinker refused to take his medication. His wife had urged him to continue taking it to control his paranoia. Deputy District Attorney Alberto S. Roldan, who sought a 12-year prison term for Tinker, had argued that Tinker had mental problems, but that he still knew right from wrong. Tinker was a former railroad consultant with the state Department of Transportation who had walked away from his job, and his wife had thrown him out of the house, Roldan said. Judge James L. Long said that two mental health experts had concluded he was legally sane at the time of the slaying.

Date: /2003
Location: Rancho Cordova, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Tyson Joiel Suggs, a man with a history of mental illness, walked into a jail in Sacramento, CA in 2003 and told deputies he had killed his girlfriend. Suggs was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Jennifer Holman, 41, whose body was found wrapped in plastic in her Rancho Cordova, CA apartment. When he turned himself in, he told a deputy that he had punched and slashed Holman's throat, said Deputy District Attorney Andrew Smith. Subsequent History: On November 19, 2004, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley suspended criminal proceedings against the 29-year-old man after mental health experts determined Suggs suffered from schizophrenia. Suggs returns to court Dec. 8, 2004, when Frawley will decide to which mental hospital he will be sent. If he is ever found mentally competent, Suggs will be returned to Sacramento, where criminal proceedings will be reinstated, Smith said. Source Of Information: Sacramento Bee, November 11, 2004

Date: 5/2002
Location: , Sacramento, CA
Summary: Police killed Anthony Vontoure on May 31, 2002, after friends reported that he was “acting bipolar.” Sheriff’s officials said at the time that Vontoure was screaming about “men with green masks coming to get him.” His parents have filed a $25 million wrongful death and police brutality suit against the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Vontoure had reportedly been diagnosed with bipolar disorder while he was at college and was taking psychiatric medication. Source Of Information: The San Francisco Chronicle, April 24, 2003

Date: 10/2005
Location: Galt, Sacramento, CA
Summary: Salvatore Carmelo “TC” Maggio, 19, of Wilton, CA, is charged with killing Galt High School sophomore Aaron Brooks, 15, whose body was found Nov. 5, 2005 in a creek outside Galt, CA. Brooks had been missing since Oct. 26, 2005, and the family believes he was killed that day in October. “These two men were involved in an altercation, and one of them died," defense attorney Randy Thomas said. "This (death) wasn't something that was planned in any way, shape or form.” Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Gerald Backarich appointed a physician and a psychologist on March 21 to evaluate Maggio to see if he was sufficiently competent to stand trial. The court-ordered report says that Maggio is mentally ill. Maggio, who was arrested the same day Brooks' body was found has undergone psychiatric treatment in the jail's psychiatric ward since his arrest, Thomas said. Source Of Information: Lodi News-Sentinel, April 20, 2006

Note: The Treatment Advocacy Center has a database of “Potentially Preventable Tragedies” with an Advance Search Function that allows it to be searched by State, County, injury, officer involvement and using other criteria. It is available at http://treatmentadvocacycenter.org. The information in this article was pulled from that database


The information on Mental Illness Policy Org. is not legal advice or medical advice. Do not rely on it. Discuss with your lawyer or medical doctor. Mental Illness Policy Org was founded in February 2011 and in order to maintain independence does not accept any donations from companies in the health care industry or government. That makes us dependent on the generosity of people who care about these issues. If you can support our work, please send a donation to Mental Illness Policy Org., 50 East 129 St., Suite PH7, New York, NY 10035. Thank you. Contact office@mentalillnesspolicy.org Contact DJ Jaffe, founder http://mentalillnesspolicy.org.