31-year-old Damian Lamar Daniels. Daniels was a combat veteran. He served this country proudly and, like many other veterans, did not escape the lasting effects of life in combat.
He was depressed, despondent and, some say, suicidal.
Daniels died Tuesday night at the hands of the San Antonia Sheriff's Department.
San Angelo Live reports that the SAPD was dispatched to a home in the 11000 block of Liberty Field after receiving reports of a suicidal individual. When they arrived they found Daniels and described him as "mentally unstable".
“It was readily apparent that this suspect was despondent,” says Chief Javier Salazar. “Reports were he was suicidal and despondent over the loss of several family members and there were indications he was seeing things or hearing voices.”
Authorities tried to reach Daniels by phone several times to negotiate with him and try to convince him to come out of his house peacefully but, he didn't answer.
Somehow they determined that Daniels was armed with a handgun and for more than 30 minutes they tried to reason with him.
"Daniels would then become aggressive and a struggle ensued. A deputy attempted to subdue Daniels by using his taser. Daniels then reached for the service weapon in the holster of the deputy’s waistband. After Daniels repeatedly failed to follow the deputies’ order a deputy deployed his weapon."
Daniels was struck twice in the upper torso and died at the scene.
Now that we've stated all of the facts, let's venture into some common sense conversation. As a people, we need to take better care when calling the police for mental health issues. At the time they arrived at Sergeant Daniels' home, he wasn't a danger to anyone BUT HIMSELF.
It was reported that he's recently suffered several deaths in his family back to back and they'd taken a toll on him. One officer did try to "trauma bond" with Daniels expressing "that he in fact recently lost a loved one and understood what he was going through”. That's wonderful but, did anyone call in a licensed mental health professional? There are, seemingly, many other ways that this could have been handled and now Daniels' family wants answers and justice.
Daniels' family has retained the legal services of Lee Merritt, known for being civil rights lawyer and activist, as well as help from activist Shaun King.
The three veterans involved in his death, two veterans and one on her fourth day working for the office, will be following protocol for officer-involved shootings.
We're going to watch and see how this one plays out. . .