Family says Omaha Target shooting suspect struggled with mental health for years – KTIV Siouxland’s News Channel
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The uncle of the 32-year-old man who brought a loaded AR-15 into a west Omaha Target store on Tuesday, tells 6 News that the man struggled with mental health for years, and his family tried to get him help.
“He was a good kid, he was a kind kid,” says Larry Derksen Jr. in an interview with 6 News in the home he shared with his nephew, Joseph ‘Joey’ Jones.
Jones was killed Tuesday after firing several shots inside the Target.
“I in no way, shape, or form think he had any intention of going into that store and hurting anybody.”
The community knows about Jones’ actions, but what they don’t know is his long history of mental health issues.
Derksen says Jones was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.
“It started about 3 years ago. He came to believe that the cartel was after him,” Derksen says.
On and off, Jones would pack up and drive to other states, eventually returning when he ran out of money. Derksen says he was having frequent episodes, and several times he purchased or came home with guns.
“The ground rules were if you’re staying here you can’t have a firearm,” Derksen says. “You have to do the right things, drugs, alcohol, see a doctor, get medication. He tried to do that for a while but the voices don’t stop.”
His family did what they could to help. In one incident, Derksen says Jones demanded his gun back, and Derksen called the police.
“I said ‘hey my nephew is schizophrenic, he’s demanding his firearm I’m not giving it back to him,’ [but] they came here and by law, they were required to actually give him back his firearm.”
After that, Jones left and was in and out of hospitals and facilities.
Several months ago, he drove to Kansas where he was arrested after lying on the interstate. Derksen says Jones believed that the cartel would kill his family if he didn’t commit suicide. He was then placed in another mental health facility.
“Time and time again, you know me and his grandmother were trying to petition to them, ‘hey, he needs some help,’ and all they can really do is put him in the hospital for three days, keep him for three days, and give medication,” he says. “But when you’re in severe mental health distress and have a diagnosis like him it wasn’t enough for him to get clear enough to make rational decisions.”
Two weeks before walking into Target, Derksen says Jones quit his jobs – which he loved – and reported to the FBI that he was facing some sort of harassment.
Last week, the …….