Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Franke is speaking out for the first time since his son was shot and killed during an alleged home invasion Christmas Eve.
Franke talked candidly about his son, Josh Slaven, and the drug addiction and family challenges leading up to the death.
The subject is still very raw for the mayor and his wife who just laid Slaven to rest in Cedar Hill on Saturday. But now they want to share their struggles and pain openly. They say they've been trying to help Josh kick his drug habit since he was a teen.
The mayor says his family doesn’t blame the homeowner who shot their son.
“Any person needs to be able to protect their home. That’s the crisis. The crisis is our son getting shot. The problem is much deeper than that. We all want to focus on the crisis of the situation. The root of the problem is we were struggling with a son who was an addict, that made some really bad decisions, and had to suffer the consequences of those decisions,” said Franke.
Slaven is accused of breaking into the bedroom window of Gareth Long on Christmas Eve. The home is just down the road from where Franke and his wife live. Long claims he warned the intruder and shot him.
The mayor says the family had been awake getting Christmas presents ready for the grandkids. Slaven is a father of three.
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Franke and his wife knew something was wrong when they heard the police cars fly by. Franke says Slaven had been at their home earlier in the day. The mayor believes his son had been on PCP. He even called police about Slaven on Christmas Eve, because he'd been behaving strangely. By the time officers arrived, Slaven had vanished.
Hours later, Franke and his wife got a dreaded and devastating knock on the door from the chief of police -- and notification that Josh was dead.
“Josh was never a violent kid. Breaking a window and going into a house? Amazing, surprising, very uncharacteristic. That's why we think it had to be some different drug. We haven't seen any toxicology reports or anything like that. Part of the closure, it would be nice to find out what he was on,” said Franke.
Franke said he and his wife hope they can help out other families dealing with drug addictions.
“We can't go back. We wish we could have another chance. We would take Josh with all his problems and his family challenges if we could, but that's not reality," said Franke. "And we're going to be real, and we're going to believe good can come about this and that us being open and honest, or encouraging others to be open and honest. Associate with other people facing these challenges."
Franke said Slaven had been struggling with a heroin addiction in October and checked himself into rehab.
Police records show Franke called officers to report Slaven had assaulted him on Nov. 17 after Franke “confronted him about a drug addiction.” Slaven was arrested on that date.
On Nov. 25, Slaven returned to the home and a 31-day protective order was issued to keep him away, according to city records. He was arrested again for violating that order.