Police shot a 29-year-old man with a mental illness eight times as he was fleeing. We’ll see how Jeremy Toms died and what evidence from the investigation turned up in detail
What happened to Jeremy Marshall Thomas?
An inquest into his death heard that Jerm Marshall-Thomas was shot by police 12 times, with two of the shots striking his chest at close range and killing him instantly.
After being involved in a high-speed police chase during which his car broke down and stopped three times, the 29-year-old died in the early hours of March 31, 2018, on a highway in Auckland. He was armed with a machete and used it to threaten police officers, crashing at least once into a police car window.
The officer was just over a meter away from Toms when the first shot hit him in the chest, according to inquest testimony.
investigation after four years
Coroner’s lead Debra Bell apologized to Toms’ family for the delay when they began the inquest into his death Friday morning at Auckland District Court, four years after his death.
She added that it was not for me to assign blame, describing the investigation as a fact-finding process that would undoubtedly be difficult and emotionally stressful for the family.
She claimed that Toms’ 4-year-old daughter was born shortly after his death. According to Coroner Bell’s opening statement in the case, the event began on 31 March when Toms’ mother Joanne called the mental health services for help at 2.25am because he was unwell and had threatened to burn her house down.
The inquest heard that Jeremy’s mother, Joan Thoms, had contacted the police in the hours before his death to request an examination of the care of her son, who bipolar disorder
However, Jeremy was not present when the police arrived at the Toms’ home in the Onyonga neighborhood of Auckland. As a result, the officer removed the post from the police alert system.
This meant that the cops, who were only designated as Cop A and Cop B to protect their identities, were unaware of Toms’ mother’s emergency call or past mental health problems when they encountered him on State Highway 1.
Today’s inquest heard testimony from a medical expert whose identity and profession have been withheld, who examined Toms about two weeks before he was shot and believed his drug use had caused his relapse.
A memorial to Jeremy Toms at the spot where he was shot and killed by police.
Graeme Thoms’ mental health was affected by his drug use
The medical expert described him as an “intelligent, genuine and honest” man whose mental health was affected by drug use.
In the four years after the event he testified in court, he asked himself “about 20 times” if he could offer Toms any additional care. “In my view, the sad reply is no,”
He walked into a gas station and made death threats to the employee, according to CCTV evidence, before speeding off on State Highway 1. At one point, a policeman stopped to help him, but as soon as Toms approached him brandishing a machete, he turned and left.
Toms got out of his car at one point, destroyed his headlights, and then took off again. Two police officers were following Toms’ car around 4 a.m. when it was struck and pulled over for the third time. The man approached Officers A and B, whose identities were kept secret, as he exited his car, brandishing a machete.
Jeremy Toms was hit 12 times
Thoms was instructed to stop and drop his weapon by Officer A, who was standing next to the open driver’s door of the police car, but Thoms continued to advance. Officer B too A total of 12 bullets were fired between the two policemen. Before passing out, Toms ran about 45 metres.
Toms died at the scene despite first aid efforts and an ambulance call from officers. According to Coroner Bell, the investigation will examine what happened before and during the police chase leading up to the shooting, how similar deaths were prevented in the future, and Toms’ prior access to mental health care and assistance.
Less than a month before he was shot, he had been released from a mental health facility in Oakland due to a history of despair, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, the inquest heard.
Just over two weeks before his death, Toms was seen by a medical professional on March 15. He was described as “an intelligent, honest, kind and gentle man” who made no secret of his cannabis use but was excited about life and the impending birth. his daughter.
The expert, whose identity has been preserved, stated that he “talked about his hopes of launching a Harley-Davidson import business…about meeting his daughter.”
He testified at the inquest that he requested a follow-up appointment with Toms a month later, but Toms refused and assured the social worker that he would contact him if necessary.
The doctor said no when asked if there was anything else he could do for Toms, even though he had been thinking about it often over the past 45 months.
When asked if he could determine from the hearing whether Toms was using methamphetamine or taking his prescription, he replied: “Doctors are not gods, we can’t read people’s minds.
There is no guarantee that a patient will take his prescription and refrain from using the drugs, but he stated that every patient should be given the opportunity to earn that trust.
Later, he admitted, “The assurance that he instilled…his belief that he would stay well and not do drugs—he did not maintain his commitment to abstaining.” Police are expected to testify in the ongoing investigation on Monday.
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