Hudson suspect held at gunpoint by mom had history of mental illness


SUSAN, WHEN SHE WOULD NOT GIVE HIM AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY SHE WANTED TO LEAVE. DEPUTIES SAY HE PULLED HER TO THE FLOOR, GRABBED HER BY THE NECK, AND STRANGLED HER. 26 MINUTES OF TERROR, THE TAMPA BAY MOM HOLDS AN INTRUDER AT GUNPOINT DURING HALF THAT NIGHTMARE. THE SUSPECT WHO IS NOW FACING FELONY CHARGES IS BELIEVED TO HAVE A HISTORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS. WHY DIDN’T HE GET THE HELP HE NEEDED IN TIME? TONIGHT, WE INVESTIGATE THE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS IN FLORIDA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER IS DELVING INTO OUR OVERWHELMED SYSTEM. MENTAL HEALTH EXPERTS HERE IN TAMPA SAY THERE’S JUST NOT ENOUGH HELP FOR THE PEOPLE WHO NEEDED THE MOST. I DON’T KNOW WHERE HE WENT. HE WAS JUST UP THE STREET. Reporter: A MOTHER FIGHTING DEPUTIES AT HER DOOR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. THEY SAY HER SON, DEVON COOK, HAS JUST BROKEN INTO A NEIGHBOR’S GARAGE. TWO PEOPLE HELD HIM AT GUNPOINT. MOMENTS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DEADLY. THE NIGHTMARE BEGAN SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE. HE IS SCHIZOPHRENIC. Reporter: THE MOTHER SAYS OFF HIS MEDS. THEY ARE STILL ALIVE. 100% WITHOUT A DOUBT. Reporter: COOK APPEARS TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF CRISIS. YOU HAVE SOME MENTAL HEALTH DIAGNOSIS? NO, I’M FINE. Reporter: A DEPUTY TRY TO TAKE HIM IN FOR MENTAL HEALTH EVALUATION FOR A COURT ORDER? IF THERE SOMETHING YOU WANT ME TO TAKE OR DO, I’M GOING TO DENY IT. Reporter: THIS IS NOT COOK’S 1st RUN-IN WITH THE LAW. ONLINE JAIL RECORDS SHOW SINCE TURNING 19, COOK HAS BEEN BOOKED INTO THE PASCOE COUNTY JAIL SIX TIMES. THIS LATEST ARREST, HE IS FACING A FELONY. COOK’S MOM SAYS HE HAS A HISTORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS, SO WHY DIDN’T HE GET THE HELP HE NEEDED IN TIME? IS HE A MILITARY VETERAN? Reporter: EIGHT ON YOUR SIDE INVESTIGATES RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO NEEDED WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAVE COMMITTED A CRIME. THOSE SERIOUS CASES, HOW OFTEN DO YOU COME ACROSS THOSE? WE COME ACROSS THEM DAILY. Reporter: THE CRISIS CENTER OF TAMPA BAY. TELL US THEY GOT THE NEWS ALREADY FORMED, WE ARE AT THE BOTTOM LINE OF IT. ACCORDING TO A STATE OF MENTAL HEALTH, FLORIDA RANKS WERE SERIOUS THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE. AT THE SAME TIME, WE ARE CLOSE TO THE BOTTOM, NUMBER ACCESS TO CARE AND 42 FOR MENTAL HEALTH WORKFORCE AVAILABILITY. RENTALS ALSO SAYS THEY SPENT LESS MONEY THAN ANY OTHER STATE ON THIS ISSUE. WHY IS THAT? THERE’S A WHOLE HOST OF REASONS. Reporter: SHE SAID FLORIDA DIDN’T EXPAND MEDICAID, WE HAVE AN INVESTED DOLLARS IN THE TRADITIONAL BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SYSTEM, AND THE MONEY THAT WE DO SPEND IS SPREAD ACROSS TOO MANY AGENCIES. IF I’M AN INDIVIDUAL, DEPENDING ON WHAT I QUALIFY FOR, I MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET A DIME HERE AND A QUARTER THERE, WE TRULY HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO CREATE A COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM OF CARE PARTICULARLY FOR GROWN- UPS. Reporter: WE HAVE MADE PROGRESS WITH REDUCING THE STIGMA ONCE ASSOCIATED WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, BUT FLORIDA HAS A LONG WAY TO GO IN MAKING SERVICES AVAILABLE TO THE PEOPLE WITH THE MOST SEVERE ILLNESS. COOK’S MOM SAID THAT HE HAS BEEN IN AND OUT OF FACILITIES FOR YEARS, EACH TIME SHE SAID HE WOULD BE RELEASED, DRUGGED UP LIKE A ZOMBIE, BUT THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM OF HIS SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS WAS NEVER ADDRESSED. SHE SAID THERE WAS NEVER ENOUGH COUNSELORS, FUNDING, OR RESOURCES. 8 ON YOUR SIDE. THE CRISIS CENTER SAYS THEY GET NEARLY 1:15,000 CALLS EVERY YEAR.

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