The news broke Monday that an Army veteran who spent years stationed at Fort Hood — and deployed three times to war zones — died as a result of homicide, according to the autopsy report.
To be specific, Killeen police shot and killed Titus Latchison, a 13-year Army veteran who settled in Killeen following his time in the Army. He was also a father, husband and son.
That said, he was also a troubled veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Coupled with traumatic experiences he went through in war, Latchison also had trouble with his marriage and keeping a job when he left the Army.
His once-structured life in the Army slowly and steadily unraveled, hitting rock bottom on April 4, 2014.
On that day, Latchison walked out of the front door of his home in west Killeen and confronted police who were armed with Tasers and handguns. He threw knives at police and walked forcefully toward a KPD officer.
As the police yelled at Latchison to stop, the veteran continued his aggressive approach to the officer, who fired his weapon in self-defense.
I don’t blame that officer for firing his weapon, but it seems in the Killeen-Fort Hood area, we should have a better system in place than armed officers responding to a situation of a troubled veteran who is calling for help.
Officials at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center said that in the last fiscal year, about 2,500 Fort Hood troops returning from deployment were diagnosed with PTSD.
Many of those soldiers continue to live, work and retire in the Killeen-Fort Hood area.
It’s quite possible that PTSD may be the No. 1 issue facing this area.
While there are a lot of programs to help those with PTSD, tragedies like the case of Titus Latchison could occur again.
Some may call his case “suicide by cop,” but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The autopsy report also revealed that Latchison called a suicide hotline before police responded to his home.
It seems to me, police should have tried any number of non-lethal means, including Tasers, to take Latchison down.
I’m not sure why that didn’t happen.
Latchison wasn’t a bad person. He was, however, mentally wounded. And those mental wounds ended up getting him killed.
And now his children, spouse, parents, friends and other loved ones have a pain that may never heal.