That man was identified by TBI as 42-year-old Andre Horton. WHBQ spoke with Horton's uncle, Willie Nason, who said Horton went to seek medical help and was turned away.
“We did our job,” Nason said. “Why didn’t they do theirs?”
Nason said the Memphis Mental Health Institute turned his nephew away. He said the clinic told Horton he wasn’t a threat to himself or to others, so there was nothing they could do.
“Please, sit down, just 24 hours and talk to (him),” Nason said he pleaded with doctors. “I don’t get a chance to talk to me nephew no more. He came to us looking for help and y’all let him down.”
Nason said his nephew was acting strangely last week. He said Horton came to visit him and was acting completely out of character.
“It was just like, boom,” Nason said. “Something just transitioned, in a matter of two days.”
That was last Thursday, and on Monday, they went to seek mental help. They were told to go to a crisis center instead.
“He was going to go back to another mental health institute yesterday,” Nason said. “Last night, he was killed.”
Horton’s uncle said police aren’t the ones to blame, but instead, medical professionals are.
“All only if they had been a little more professional, maybe they could’ve saved his life,” Nason said.
WHBQ reached out to the Mental Health Institute for a statement about this shooting. Read below:
We want to express the department’s deepest sympathies on the death of Mr. Horton.
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has no record of Mr. Horton presenting at, being referred to, or receiving treatment at Memphis Mental Health Institute. Additionally, the department has no record of Mr. Horton in our crisis system which tracks individuals who come into contact with mobile crisis. Department officials also checked with Alliance Health Services, and Mr. Horton is not listed as receiving services through its crisis assessment center which is in the same location as MMHI.
As a department, TDMHSAS continues to support law enforcement across the state in their efforts to disseminate Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training with regard to techniques which are designed to educate and empower trainees in the de-escalation of persons experiencing a psychiatric crisis.
As a sidebar, if you want to include it, maybe in a web story or something, we have a statewide crisis phone line—the number is 1-855-CRISIS-1.