OMAHA, Nebraska (WOWT) – The uncle of the 32-year-old man who brought an AR-15 loaded with AR-15s into an Omaha Target store in the West on Tuesday said the man had struggled with mental health for years. and his family to 6 News. tried to help him
“He was a good boy, a sweet boy,” Larry Dirksen Jr. said in an interview with 6 News at the home he shared with nephew Joseph ‘Joey’ Jones.
Jones died Tuesday after firing several shots into the target.
“I don’t think he ever intended to go into that store and hurt anyone.”
The community knows about Jones’ behavior, but what they don’t know is his long history of mental health problems.
Derksen says Jones has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
“It started about three years ago. He came to believe the cartel was after him,” says Derksen.
Jones intermittently packed up and drove to other states, eventually returning when he ran out of money. Derksen said he had frequent seizures and had several times purchased or brought home a gun.
“The ground rule was that if you’re staying here, don’t carry a firearm,” says Derksen. “You gotta do the right thing, drugs, alcohol, see a doctor, get some medicine. He tried to do that for a while, but his voice won’t stop.”
His family did what they could. In one incident, Dirksen says Jones demanded the gun be returned, and Dirksen called the police.
I said, “Hey, my nephew is schizophrenic. He’s demanding he not give back his gun.” [but] They had to come here and, by law, actually give him the gun back. ”
Jones has since been discharged and has been in and out of hospitals and facilities.
A few months ago, he drove to Kansas and was arrested for lying down on an interstate. Derksen says Jones believed the cartel would kill his family if he didn’t kill himself. He was then placed in another mental health facility.
“You know, many times me and his grandmother tried to beg them, ‘He needs help,’ but all they could really do was put him in the hospital for three days and keep him in the hospital for three days. It’s just maintenance and medicine,” he says. “But when you’re in serious emotional distress and have a diagnosis like his, it wasn’t enough for him to be clear enough to make a rational decision.
Two weeks before he set foot in Target, Dirksen said he had reported to the FBI that Jones had quit a job he loved and was facing some form of harassment.
Last week, the FBI showed up at Duplex to talk to Jones.
“Here’s the long history of this 32-year-old man with a history of schizophrenia, he has no help, no health insurance, no need for medication. Nobody wants him healthy.” We don’t force or force you to get healthy, and coming to what happened the other day, it’s predictable.”
Derksen says he was out of town when Jones bought the AR-15 four days before he showed up at Target.
“We didn’t realize he had a firearm. If we had known, we would have tried to take it away from him or call law enforcement, but still, How can I buy a firearm after repeated hospitalizations with paranoid schizophrenia?”
Derksen says the American system is broken, but that doesn’t excuse Jones’ actions.
In a message to the community, Derksen hopes people will understand what Jones and his family went through.
“We were hurt as a family because of the pain that was inflicted on everyone who was at Target. We were hurt because of the law enforcement officers who had to make that choice. I’m sorry for what happened. and I believe the officer did what he should have done,” he says. I hope you all understand that I have a health issue, I think this is not a gun issue, it’s a mental health issue, and until we address this issue, things like this will never happen. will continue.”
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