RICHMOND, Va. -- Thousands of calls come into the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority each year from people concerned about the welfare of themselves or others, but one call last Friday escalated into a situation the authority’s Chief Executive Officer said he’s never seen before.
“We`ve not had anything of this magnitude occur with staff on scene in all of these years,” John Lindstrom, the CEO of the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, said.
Two of Lindstrom’s crisis intervention workers responded to a mental health call Friday in Fulton about a man in distress.
“There was not a lot of responsiveness. They were having some difficulty engaging him,” Lindstrom said.
At some point, police were called and they said the man, Tamar Harris, ended up shooting Officer William Turner before being shot by the officer.
“Depending on the nature of the call, law enforcement is in a better position to stabilize and ensure safety,” Lindstrom said about why law enforcement is sometimes called to assist his crisis intervention workers.
Lindstrom said privacy laws prevent him from saying what type of mental distress Harris was experiencing.
But, a man at Harris’s home who identified himself as Harris’s uncle, said Harris suffered a brain injury after shooting himself a few years ago.
He also said his nephew never recovered after his mother died unexpectedly two years ago.
An uncle said Harris blamed himself for her death.
Both were listed in critical condition at VCU Medical Center as of Monday night. As they recover, the RBHA is reviewing what happened on Friday.
“To determine if there are any lessons that can be learned from that event,” Lindstrom said.
Harris is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning.