'He's not a monster' says relative of man accused of Phoenix church threat

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Ismaiel Damian faces a misdemeanor charge after allegedly saying he wanted to shoot and kill people at the North Valley Romanian Pentecostal Church on Happy Valley Road. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ismaiel Damian faces a misdemeanor charge after allegedly saying he wanted to shoot and kill people at the North Valley Romanian Pentecostal Church on Happy Valley Road. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Victoria Damian says her brother-in-law unraveled after the death of his wife in May 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Victoria Damian says her brother-in-law unraveled after the death of his wife in May 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The relative of a man accused of threatening to open fire in his church says he’s not a monster, he just needs help. 

Ismaiel Damian faces a misdemeanor charge after allegedly saying he wanted to shoot and kill people at the North Valley Romanian Pentecostal Church on Happy Valley Road.

[RELATED: Man accused of threatening to shoot everyone in Phoenix church]

Victoria Damian says her brother-in-law unraveled after the death of his wife in May 2016. 

“He accepted it for a while but then slowly, slowly just kept on saying she was alive,” says Victoria.

She says Ismaiel needs to be in a hospital, not a jail cell. 

Victoria contacted Phoenix Police on Feb. 17 in hopes of getting Ismaiel to a psychiatric facility.

“By the time we got the petition done for them to go pick him up he left to work,” says Victoria.

The following weekend, Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Ismaiel at his home. Investigators believe he was pulling out of his driveway to head to the church. Sheriff Penzone says Ismaiel had a handgun in his car.

Victoria questions how investigators can assume where Ismaiel was going that day.

“I think they should have looked at his records, that he has psychological issues,” says Victoria.  “I don’t think they should have booked him in jail and said he's a criminal who wanted to do bad stuff."

Victoria hopes a judge will order Ismaiel into mental health treatment.

“If he's not mentally ill, he's a wonderful guy,” says Victoria. “He took care of his kids, he gave them everything.”

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