A Mental Health Expert’s Perspective on Patrick Warren’s Shooting

Local News

KILLEEN, Texas – Doorbell footage shows 52-year-old Patrick Warren, Sr.’s final moments before being shot three times and killed by a Killeen police officer.

Warren’s family made a call to police needing help, as he was suffering a mental health crisis – not knowing this call would lead to his death.

Family members say they were told a mental health deputy was not available, so a police officer was sent instead.

MHMR Behavioral Services Director Jennifer Higginbotham says this mental crisis should be handled by mental health.

“There are times when it is a danger to those individuals that aren’t in law enforcement, and so we may need them there as a partner. But mental health needs to respond to mental health crisis,” Higginbotham said.

The doorbell footage captures Warren unarmed and emotionally distressed. Higginbotham shares the importance of meeting individuals where they are during mental crisis and deescalating the situation.

“All you know is what’s happening at that moment, so you don’t know the person’s history, their trauma, you don’t know what the triggers are,” Higginbotham said.

“In a perfect world, if there were funding, you would have mental health professionals always paired with law enforcement for any sort of mental health crisis. And you would provide extensive training, so that the right person responds at the right time.”

The officer has been identified as Reynaldo Contreras, who remains on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

During Thursday’s press conference, Bobbie Warren, Warren Sr.’s wife, issued a statement calling for Contreras’s arrest.

“Our family is still finding our bearings following the murder of our beloved Patrick Warren, Sr. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the community. Patrick was a loving husband, father and devoted man of God. As we deal with the pain of this sudden loss we are asking the community to join us in honoring his name and demanding justice. Patrick spent his entire life serving others. He worked at a local plant in Belton, TX before it was shut down due to the pandemic. He immediately launched a landscaping business to continue to provide for our family. We expect Officer Reynaldo Contreras to be arrested immediately. There is more than enough probable cause for the Killeen Police Department, Texas Rangers or the Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza to issue a warrant for Contreras’ immediate arrest and detainment – as would be expected for any other citizen under the circumstances.”

Warren’s son, Patrick Jr., created a GoFundMe account to raise money for funeral expenses. The GoFundMe has now raised $36,044 of its $50,000 goal.

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