The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

November 27, 2012

Deputies' shooter struggled with mental illness


Helen Jansen petitioned for involuntarily commitment again on Feb. 3, 2010. She wrote that he was not keeping his appointments with mental health workers, had become verbally abuse toward her and had left the burners on his stove on while turning up the heater and opening all of the doors and windows. The judge approved the petition and agreed that Jansen presented a substantial threat of harm to himself.

A month after Jansen was released from the treatment, his mother petitioned for help again writing that her son was "a seriously dangerous person," and that "for the safety and well being of the community" he should be in a mental institution. The April, 12, 2010 petition came after an apparent suicide attempt in which he cut himself on the arms and neck with a razor.

Records show that he was discharged from inpatient mental health treatment on July 28, 2010. It is unclear whether Jansen had any more treatment after his discharge.

Jansen did not have a violent criminal history, only minor drug and alcohol-related convictions.

Mourners remembered Ward on Tuesday for his service to his country and his community. The 15-year Baldwin County Sheriff's Office veteran was a member of the SWAT team and had served in Afghanistan through the Coast Guard Reserve.

Ward spent his life in public service and died trying to help others, said Baldwin County District Attorney Halle Dixon.

Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack said Ward wasn't the deputy responsible for responding to the call from the Jansen residence for help, but Ward was in the area and wanted to support his fellow deputies.

Mack choked up at news conference on Monday while paying tribute to his longtime friend.

Summerlin, the wounded deputy, was shot in his arm and leg and was in stable condition on Tuesday following two surgeries.

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