A Georgia sheriff hopes for ‘much needed change in the mental health system’ after a deputy was shot during a traffic stop


The suspect, 24-year-old Zachary Lucas Olivar, has a “history of mental illness,” Jones County Sheriff R. N. Reece said.

“We have received reports that he has been having issues for the past week, with several attempts made by his family to get him help,” Reece said in a post on the Facebook account of the sheriff’s office.

CNN attempted to contact Olivar’s family but has not heard back and has not been able to confirm his mental health status.

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s department released body and dash camera video from three deputies involved in the arrest. The edited video shows the man shooting one of the deputies in the chest at close range, then driving off. That deputy was hit in his bullet proof vest and survived, Reece said on Facebook.

The incident happened early Sunday morning during a traffic stop, a Sunday post from the sheriff’s office said. In video of the incident posted by the office, the deputy can be seen interacting for several minutes with Olivar, who is sitting in a white car on the side of the road.

At one point, the deputy asks the Olivar, “You okay man? I need to get you an ambulance?” to which the man responded, “No sir, I’m just really cold.” He later began to repeat “this is my home” as the deputy asked him to get out of the car several times.

The video then shows the man pull out a gun covered in what appears to be a towel and shoot Deputy John Kile in the chest.

Kile’s bulletproof vest “saved his life,” the sheriff wrote on Facebook, and the deputy was able to call in the incident and pursue the suspect.

Following a chase, and with the assistance of other deputies, authorities were able to stop the suspect’s car using stop sticks and a PIT maneuver, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday.

Olivar was taken into custody and is being held at the Jones County Sheriff’s Office with no bond, according to the sheriff’s office.

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“Unfortunately we hear about situations like this on a regular basis,” Reece said on Facebook. “Families are struggling to get help for loved ones with mental health issues; however, it seems all too often that these individuals fall through the cracks. Unfortunately it sometimes takes an incident like this one to show how important accessibility to mental health care really is.”

“Our hope is that this incident brings about a much needed change in the mental health system,” the sheriff said, adding he hopes “our legislature can be a driving force behind this change.”

Olivar is charged with two counts of felony aggravated assault, one count of felony possession of firearm/knife during the commission of crime, one count of felony fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and two misdemeanors, reckless driving and failure to maintain lane, according to the arrest warrants issued Tuesday.

Kile was treated and released from a local medical center following the shooting, the sheriff’s office said.

Source : CNN