|From KXLY kxly.com
Vet suffering from PTSD shot, killed by deputies
Vet called dispatchers, told them he wanted to be shot by officers
Author: Ian Cull, KXLY4 Multimedia Journalist
Published On: Feb 13 2014 02:32:41 AM GMT Updated On: Feb 13 2014 02:43:34 AM GMT
SPOKANE, Wash. -
The man shot and killed by Spokane County Sheriff's deputies Tuesday night near the Spokane Valley Mall was an Army combat veteran who had been struggling with PTSD.
Family members confirmed Wednesday the man shot by deputies was 23-year-old Jed Zillmer, a 2008 Lewis and Clark High School graduate, and an Army veteran who served in combat in Afghanistan.
Tuesday night a chase started around 7 p.m. between Zillmer and law enforcement officers in the City of Spokane that headed east to Coeur d'Alene where Zillmer turned around and headed back to Spokane Valley, where the chase ended at the intersection of Sullivan and Indiana near the mall.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Zillmer was suicidal and believed to be heavily armed when they started the pursuit. Zillmer called dispatch at the start of the pursuit around 7 p.m. and told them he was suicidal, heavily armed and wanted to commit suicide by cop, even saying he would shoot civilians if it took too long for deputies to shoot him.
That's why deputies stopped him at Indiana and Sullivan before he traveled into a more populated area. When they stopped him, Zillmer got out of his vehicle and pointed a gun at himself and adjusted his bulletproof vest.
"Doing that, officers opened fire because there was some kind of movement," Knezovich said.
As the investigation into the deadly shooting is already underway, one thing investigators will look at as why Zillmer decided to take his own life.
"We'll also try and figure out what the background story of what caused him to want to have his life taken," Knezovich said.
Family members have an answer for investigators. They said Zillmer, a combat veteran, had been wounded in action and received the Purple Heart. One family member went so far to say he was a "wonderful guy who had PTSD." The family member said a lot of them didn't know just how bad it really was.
Friends said Zillmer was also legally married and was planning to have a formal wedding this summer.
The VA Medical Center held a press conference Wednesday, saying they offer a number of services for veterans in crisis. They have help in the VA emergency room 24-7 and access to counselors for long term treatment.
"We're really reaching out and making sure services are available to our veterans anywhere they live," VA trauma therapist Dawn Gray said.
Zillmer was a student at Spokane Falls Community College, where he helped other veterans with paperwork as they adjusted to college life. The vice president of student services said Wednesday the students at the Vet Corps Center were shocked by the news of Zillmer's death.
Knezovich called the shooting was a tragedy.
"The deputies on scene did the best that they could to diffuse the situation and they were put in the horrible position to have to take his life," he said.
|From CBS Seattle cbslocal.com
Man Shot By Spokane Deputies Was Afghanistan Vet
Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press
February 12, 2014 3:52 PM
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A man described as a decorated veteran of Afghanistan was shot and killed after a police chase that involved two states.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said the man was a decorated veteran who had served in Afghanistan.
Authorities haven’t released the man’s identity, but The Spokesman-Review identified him Wednesday as Jedadiah Zillmer, a 2008 graduate of Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane. The newspaper reported that Zillmer’s family and friends confirmed his identity.
Spokane police said the incident began around 7 p.m. Tuesday, when 911 received a call from a man indicating he was suicidal, had weapons and wanted law enforcement officers to kill him.
Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Gregory said police approached the man’s vehicle, but he drove east on Interstate 90 to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Once there, he turned around and returned to Washington, Gregory said.
Deputies stopped the vehicle near the Spokane Valley Mall and the man got out, police said. Moments later, deputies say he made a threatening move and they opened fire.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said no additional information about the incident would be released Wednesday.
The Spokesman-Review said Zillmer left the Army in September 2012. A relative told the newspaper that family members suspected he might be suffering from post-traumatic stress but no diagnosis had been made.
Zillmer was shot in the foot during combat in Afghanistan in 2011 and lost part of a toe, the newspaper said. He was among a group of soldiers who were denied disability benefits from the Army and sued, the newspaper said, and a federal judge upheld the Army’s decision in September.
Because the shooting involved an officer, the incident will be investigated by a team including the Spokane Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Liberty Lake Police Department, Airway Heights Police Department, and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Copyright 2003-2015 The Associated Press.
|From The Spokesman-Review spokesman.com
February 12, 2014 in City
Man killed Tuesday night had been denied disability benefits by Army
From staff reports
The young man shot to death following a police chase Tuesday night was a combat veteran wounded in Afghanistan three years ago and denied disability benefits.
Jedadiah Zillmer, a 2008 graduate of Lewis and Clark High School, died at the scene of the confrontation near Spokane Valley Mall when Spokane County sheriff’s deputies opened fire. Initial reports indicate he was armed and despondent.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Wednesday that the young man had threatened to shoot civilians. Zillmer claimed to be a U.S. Army sniper on his Facebook page.
He was stopped by pursuing law enforcement near the intersection of Sullivan Road and Indiana Avenue. “If he would have gotten to the mall, something tragic may have happened,” Knezovich said.
The man was wearing body armor and pointed a gun at himself while threatening to shoot civilians, Knezovich said.
Although authorities have yet to identify Zillmer, the young man’s friends and family are openly discussing the tragedy.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that no additional information about the fatal encounter would be released today.
Friends and family, however, were urging people to pray for the Zillmer family.
Zillmer left the Army in September 2012.
A relative said he was seeing a counselor in Spokane. Family members suspected he might be suffering post-traumatic stress, but no diagnosis had been made, the relative said.
Zillmer and his wife, Katie Zillmer, were planning a July wedding. The couple married secretly and revealed the news to their families several months later, a relative said.
The cavalry unit Zillmer was assigned to was holed up in a house in Helgal Valley, a remote area of the restive Kunar province near the Pakistan border, on Feb. 17, 2011, Zillmer wrote in his request for disability benefits. He was shot in the foot by enemy fire that killed another member of his unit.
The wound placed him on crutches and in a wheelchair for more than four months, according to the request. He lost part of a toe and was awarded the Purple Heart for his service.
Zillmer was among a handful of soldiers who sued after being denied disability benefits from the Army. A federal judge upheld the Army’s decision in September.
The benefit denial was part of a supplemental insurance policy available to service members that covers any type of disability that prevents soldiers from performing basic daily activities, even if just temporarily.
According to his lawsuit, the Army denied his temporary disability claim in part because the nurse who helped treat him failed to check boxes on paperwork indicating whether he was personally familiar with the limitations that the injury had created.
Zillmer argued, among other things, that when evacuated half way around the world following a combat injury, the treating physician is unavailable to provide the kind of paperwork the Army was requiring.
A neighbor, Chad Martini, said Zillmer moved in to an address north of Gonzaga University about a year ago. Last week, Martini said he ran out of gas and Zillmer brought him a few gallons to make it home.
He tried to take Zillmer $30 to pay him back for the fuel last night, but police were outside the home and he had to leave the cash with a friend, Martini said.
“He was a great guy,” Martini said.
Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Mark Gregory said the young man was first approached Tuesday around 7 p.m by law enforcement. Zillmer had contacted 911 himself and talked with emergency operators but then fled east in his vehicle along Interstate 90 to Idaho before turning around and returning to Washington.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233. The Spokane Investigative Regional Response team is handling the investigation per agency protocol, and the Spokane Police Department will lead those efforts.
The Spokane Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy, according to the Police Department.