OUR TURN: Mentally ill criminals

OUR TURN: Mentally ill criminals

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Police Officer Shane Totty is lucky to be alive after being shot in the face by a mentally ill man earlier this month. Totty's close brush with death provides us with a real-life example of how difficult it is to keep mentally ill people with a history of violent behavior from being in a position to harm others.

Eugene Thomas Jr. was charged with attempted first-degree murder, for shooting Totty in the face.

Sixteen years ago, Thomas was charged with shooting and killing man, reportedly because the victim was wearing shorts. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was later released to a halfway house.

Thomas was finally freed from any state supervision last October. Even then, his family still tried to have him committed on several occasions, but their efforts were not successful.

We all recognize the need to provide appropriate treatment to help mentally ill people get better, but in no way should we feel obligated allow violent people, mentally ill or not, to be free to harm others.

That's "Our Turn." Now, it's your turn. To comment on this segment or anything else, visit us on Facebook or send an email to yourturn@wafb.com.

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