BREAUX BRIDGE, La. (AP) — A 32-year-old mentally ill man was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy after he resisted efforts to be taken into protective custody, his mother said.
Barbara Noel was quoted by The Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1J3Uu92) as saying that she asked St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s deputies to take her son Michael Noel into custody on Monday after he exhibited signs of a mental breakdown. Michael Noel had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, she told the newspaper.
While executing the order, a deputy shot Michael Noel in the chest after he resisted restraint and powered through two shocks from a stun gun, according to his mother and an aunt, Sable “Pat” Alex. Both women said they witnessed the shooting and that Michael Noel was unarmed with one handcuff around one wrist when he died near the doorway.
Louisiana state police are investigating. Spokesman Master Trooper Brooks David said in an email Wednesday that he could not confirm details of the shooting.
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Neighbors were shocked by what happened and agreed with Barbara Noel that her son was not dangerous.
“Everybody in the neighborhood knew Michael,” said Daniel Wagner. “He’s totally nonviolent.”
“That’s a good fellow. A real nice fellow,” said Norris Celestine, another neighbor. “And I’m not saying that because of what happened. He was just a real nice person. Would not hurt anyone.”
Michael Noel was a father to three children under the age of 7.
Both deputies involved in the incident have been placed on customary administrative leave, said Maj. Ginny Higgins, St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
In Louisiana, a coroner’s office approves a protective custody order and dispatches law enforcement to take a severely unstable individual into custody for mental health treatment.
Barbara Noel said her son was afraid of hospitals, courthouses and police, but law enforcement had successfully intervened before to help control him during a breakdown.
She said her son requested a mental health professional to come Monday.
“I don’t think they (police) know anything to do about that — how to deal with a mental patient,” she said.
Higgins said deputies receive crisis intervention training and are trained to de-escalate a situation when an individual is suffering a mental crisis.