Parents of Man Killed by Police Seek Mental Health System Improvements

Parents say man had years of mental health issues

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On the day of his funeral, the parents of a man killed by Dallas Police Monday spoke out Friday about the mental health system in Dallas that they say failed him.

Edgar Tirado Sr. and his wife Susana said they understand why police killed 28-year-old Edgar Tirado Jr., but they discussed the case amid their grief, hoping their words can help avoid other tragedies in the future.

“Nobody, until you deal with it yourself, can sympathize with those who have dealt with this disease,” the father said.

Edgar Jr. played trumpet in his high school band and graduated from Garland Lakeview Centennial High School, then entered the military.

His parents said his mental health problems developed after military service in his mid 20’s.  He had trouble holding down jobs and spent time homeless.

“He was admitted on two different occasions just last month,” Susana Tirado said.

The parents said detectives who investigated the death have told them that they learned the man received mental health care at Parkland Hospital and Green Oaks Hospital and was returned to the street just days before the Monday shooting.

A Medical City Healthcare spokeswoman said that Tirado Jr. had not been seen at the Green Oaks facility.

The parents said they were never contacted about the latest hospital or courtroom visits to help get him the care he needed.

“The community, the state, the city, they were not able to provide that either. They actually failed. The system has failed,” said Edgar Tirado Sr.

Monday police said the man was believed to have committed several robberies including a CVS store in North Dallas.

He was seen running through traffic on I-635 LBJ Freeway where police said he pointed what appeared to be a gun at officers before they shot him.  It turned out to be a replica weapon.

For clarity with the public, police Thursday released body camera and helicopter video of the incident under policy developed after video of past confrontations was withheld.

The parents said they recognize the dangerous behavior their son was exhibiting and the threat he posed to officers in his final moments alive. But disagree with the public release of the video.

“This was an individual with a history of mental health in the city of Dallas,” Susana Tirado said.

Police Chief Eddie Garcia this week said it was a difficult situation for the officers involved.

The parents are most troubled that their son was never able to get the care that he needed and that is the part of this tragedy for which they seek to change.

“And if we can make a difference, that’s what I want to do.  For those that have the same thing happen to them. How can we make a difference for others in memory of our son,” said Edgar Tirado Sr.

Jail records confirm that Edgar Tirado Jr. was released on April 14 but confirmation of the parents' claims about what they say police told them about his recent hospital care is not possible because medical records are confidential.

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