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Cops kill mentally ill man

Saturday, March 18 2017

RELATIVES of a 30-yearold St Ann’s outpatient, who was shot dead Thursday evening, insist police are not properly equipped to handle people with mental illness.

Paul Marchan, a PH driver from Unity Road, Richplain, Diego Martin was shot by police while experiencing a mental breakdown at his home.

“Using the gun should be the last resort of the police...not the first,” said Purdy Augustine, a relative of Marchan. “Police have no training when it comes to this. They could have shot and wounded him. They could have called St Ann’s for help.

They could have shot him with a rubber bullet. This simply was not handled properly. He never robbed anyone or killed anyone. He was not violent, but sometimes would trip off when he doesn’t take medication.” The incident happened at about 7 pm when police received a report claiming Marchan was acting violently.

When they arrived and tried to detain him, Marchan resisted and attacked officers. Relatives’ account differed, as they said Marchan was cornered by officers and appeared confused.

When officers surrounded him, he lashed out.

Relatives confirmed that police were called to subdue him and have him transported to St Ann’s hospital, but when they arrived he locked himself in his car. Relatives suggested that the police break the window of the car to get to him. When they did, he attacked officers with a razor, and ran to his garage.

After Marchan was shot, he was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Augustine told Newsday that Marchan began suffering from mental illness after his father died four years ago. His father was diagnosed with stage four cancer and died months later.

Not being able to deal with his death, Marchan turned to substance abuse, was eventually admitted to St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital and had been in and out of that hospital.

Superintendent of the Western Division Basdeo Ramdhanie said yesterday that some police officers were trained in handling people suffering from mental illness, but could not say whether those at the scene on Thursday were trained. He said that would be determined during an investigation. Ramdhanie expressed regret over the situation and extended condolences to the family.



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