Arizona veteran suffering from PTSD killed in confrontation with police

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

MARICOPA, Ariz. --- An Arizona military veteran died after a confrontation with police in his neighborhood south of Phoenix Sunday afternoon.

The widow of 32-year-old Johnathan Guillory says her husband struggled for many years with post-traumatic stress, brought on by a combat deployment in Iraq.  He also spent time as a contract worker in Afghanistan.

"Sometimes he couldn't even deal with day-to-day life.  It was a struggle for him to get through each morning, but he did," Maria Garcia told 3TV.

DPS is investigating the confrontation with Maricopa Police, which led to the deadly shooting.   A spokesman would not comment on why the officers felt threatened, or whether Guillory was armed at the time.

Garcia says her husband proactively sought help for his condition.

"He saw therapists, and was on the phone constantly with suicide hotlines," she says.

Guillory's widow says he went to the VA hospital, where he reported he was having a mental health emergency.

"They turned him away. They told him there was no room, and that he'd have to make an appointment," she recalls.

"I think the system failed him," Garcia continued, "It was a huge disappointment for him to come in and have doctors say they couldn't fit him in an emergency appointment, that they didn't have anything, that they were totally booked up."

The scenario is all too familiar for veteran advocates, like David Lucier, who founded the Arizona Veterans and Military Leadership Alliance.

"We see this played out over and over and over again.  Here's another example of someone not being able to get help when they need it.   [The VA] just lacks capacity. It's a big issue when it comes to folks with unseen wounds," Lucier told 3TV.

Guillory leaves behind two young sons, ages four and nine.   His widow says they were his inspiration.

"He wanted to get better for his kids," she says.

Garcia was home when her husband was shot.  She says she did not know anything was wrong, and does not believe her husband had a gun.

Officers had been called to the home several times by neighbors reporting disturbances, and arrived Sunday afternoon following several 911 hang-up calls.

"I wish I could've done something different for him.  I tried," Garcia said, "A lot of people perceive him as a crazy guy who went off the edge, but that's not him."

The family has set up an account in Guillory's name at Wells Fargo, as they struggle to come up with funeral costs.

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MARICOPA, Ariz. -- Maricopa police said they were forced to shoot a man Sunday afternoon after he pulled a weapon.

The suspect didn't make it, and now an investigation is underway.

The shooting happened around 2:40 p.m. near Cobblestone Farms South and Fountain Park drives.

Police said they came out to do a welfare check after the suspect made several 911 calls.

"This afternoon, my daughter upstairs heard three gunshots," Vanessa Behrens said.

Those shots were fired by Maricopa police right behind Behren's home, after officers said a suspect pulled a weapon on them -- although they declined to say what type of weapon it was.

"From their reports, the officers felt their lives were in danger. They needed to pull their service weapons and fired several shots, striking the individual," said Ricardo Alvarado, spokesman for the Maricopa Police Department.

Johnathon Guillory, 32, died at Chandler Regional Medical Center around 3:30 p.m.

"I just feel bad for the guy," Behrens said. "But I mostly feel bad for the (two) kids and the wife."

Behrens described the suspect as very confrontational and said neighbors were scared of him.

In fact, she said police had been called to Guillory's home on several occasions, including this past Saturday.

"Then we hear later from other neighbors, he's beating on doors asking who called the cops on him," Behrens said. "So it was a situation that was going to come to a head sooner or later, probably. So, yeah, it's too bad."

The two officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave while the Department of Public Safety investigates.

Sunday's incident marks the fourth officer-involved shooting in central Arizona in 2015.