DAYTON – A man shot and killed by Dayton police struggled with mental health issues ahead of a deadly confrontation with SWAT officers on Tuesday, police and neighbors said.
>>A 21-year-old man identified as someone who was shot by Special Forces officers during the Dayton encounter
William Gardner, 21, was shot dead during a standoff with SWAT at an Evergreen Street home on Tuesday after police said he fled his home with a pistol and made moves toward officers.
Gardner was the suspect in two other shootings within 24 hours of fatal police interactions. On Monday, police were called to his home after reports that he had fired several shots and set fire to. The flames were put out in Monday’s incident but the victim was not located, so police could not enter his home legally.
>>PHOTOS: Swat confrontation, fatal shooting of an officer under investigation in Dayton
Tuesday morning began with a similar report when police said Gardner fired six shots at a man walking his dog on Evergreen Street. Before the shooting, police said Gardner started another fire and when the victim’s dog approached the fire when Gardner opened fire.
The victim, 49, was shot in the leg and taken to an area hospital where he was treated and discharged. The shooting incident will start with a SWAT confrontation that ended with a fatal shooting involving the police.
In the days before the fatal police interaction, neighbors said they had problems with Gardner.
“He was going out, he was shooting and hitting the dog, outside talking crazy to the neighbors and everything,” Andrea Corbett said.
In a 911 call from Dayton Police, neighbors also revealed they believed Gardner had mental health issues when he was shooting.
“A man is outside shooting his gun, he is mentally ill. I have a kid in this house and he is right next door and he is outside shooting with a gun again,” the caller said.
Family members have expressed concerns with Gardner in the past, and on at least two occasions, Gardner has been taken by officers to local hospitals for an involuntary mental health assessment, Dayton Interim Police Chief Matt Carper said Tuesday.
Mental health experts in the area said the key is for family members to have conversations about mental health before incidents reach a crisis point.
To remove the stigma of mental health. “You need to find someone who can give your loved one an assessment and recommend appropriate resources,” said Tina Razach-Rogal of the Montgomery County Council on Alcohol, Drugs, and Mental Health.
Rogal added that there is a local health app that can help family members locate mental health resources and crisis phone numbers when needed.
© Cox Media Group 2021