Records shed light on mental health issues prior to fatal Villa Park Police shooting

Chicago News
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VILLA PARK, Ill. — New details have been released in the fatal police shooting of a transgender man Monday, raising questions about how police handle cases involving the mentally ill.

Around 2 a.m. Monday in the 200 block of E. Kenilworth officers responded to a 911 call of a person with a gun.

Police said 25-year-old Haven Bailey called police on himself. He was acting erratically and waving around what has now been identified as a pellet gun before an officer shot him four times. He later died at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Police records show Bailey, who had been transitioning from female to male, was suicidal. Friends like Yovani Simental said he was crying out for help.

“Haven has tried multiple times to reach out for help, numerous times,” Simental said. “And she didn’t get the help she wanted or needed.”

Police records show in April, Bailey told the DuPage County Crisis Center in Wheaton he was thinking of jumping off the building where he worked. When nobody heard from him, the County called police to initiate a well-being check. Police took Bailey to the hospital to be involuntarily committed.

A month later, May 22, Bailey called police again.

Police records show the call was logged as “psychiatric/abnormal behavior/suicide attempt.” 

Bailey said he needed an ambulance, “had a lot going on” and had mental health issues.

The police report said he wanted to talk to someone, so police took him to Good Samaritan Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Two days later he returned home. He called police again. This time it would be deadly.

“They knew what was going on and they decided to go ahead and shoot him,” Simental said.

Police have yet to confirm if body cameras were turned on or if the officers who arrived on scene were aware of previous calls for service – or the fact that Bailey had been suicidal. Scanner traffic from that morning indicates dispatch told at least one officer they had previously been at the residence for a “psych” call just two days prior.

The chief of police has ignored repeated emails from WGN News for comment, but in a statement police said the officer feared for his life, and Bailey refused to put down the gun that morning.

Two days before officers killed Bailey, local police filed a special report with state police saying Bailey was a danger to himself and others. They wanted to make sure he would not be allowed to purchase a gun if he tried.

Bailey’s friends say this is another case of police failing to de-escalate a situation. They wish it had ended differently, and the officer had been able to talk to Bailey for a better outcome. They want police to be able to access prior history with someone before they arrive on the scene of a crisis situation.

“Tase. Immobilize. Not directly shoot,” Simental said. “I get one, but four bullets? That’s unnecessary.”

Bailey’s family said he was mentally ill, diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder.  They say in prior incidents with police, Bailey told police he was suicidal and he wanted police to kill him.

Bailey’s friends said he was definitely struggling, but he also had a brighter side. He loved animals and fishing and was always there for his friends.

“She was oh, she was so much fun,” Simental said.

Simental said they are afraid what will happen to the next person who, like Bailey, just needed help.

“The system needs to change,” Simental said. “Something needs to change.”

The DuPage County Health Department did not want to discuss the incident, saying

interactions with any members of the community are strictly confidential.

The DuPage County M.E.R.I.T. Public Integrity Team is investigating the shooting.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255

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