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Attorney Smith Discusses the Importance of Addressing Mental Health to Prevent Domestic Violence Incidents

At around 3:10 pm, three Cedar Park police officers responded to a report of a possible domestic violence incident. The woman who made the call said that her son was trying to steal her car and that she and two of her other children were locked inside a room.

When the officers arrived on the scene, they found that the front door was unlocked but barricaded. Eventually, they made their way into the residence, and after announcing themselves, sustained fire. One officer was shot in her vest, another in his arm, and the third was grazed by a bullet.

The young man allegedly was holding his family hostage in the home with threats of bodily injury. A SWAT team was dispatched to the scene, and negotiations began. The standoff lasted about 16 hours. An hour before the young man surrendered, he let his brother and sister out of the house. His mother left the residence with him.

Prior Domestic Violence Disturbance Report at the Residence

This isn't the first time police were called to the residence in response to an alleged family violence incident. About a year earlier, the mother had reported that the young man was strangling one of his siblings. She was hoping that her call would lead to him getting mental help, but instead, her son was arrested and charged with assault on a family member.

Family Violence May Be Prevented If Adequate Resources Are Provided

Attorney Jarrod Smith told KXAN News that many incidents of domestic violence involve a person suffering from a mental health issue. He said that a large number of these types of cases might be preventable if people were able to get the mental health services they need.

Smith also noted that when family members call the police to report a domestic disturbance, they usually do so hoping that the person can get the necessary treatment for their condition. Unfortunately, that's not always how the system works. After a report is made, police respond and make an arrest if there's reason to believe that a crime is happening. Smith said that while police response is often needed in domestic violence cases, so too is connecting the person to the required resources.

In the 2019 case involving the man in the recent Cedar Park incident, his mother asked for charges to be dropped and went so far as to say that she wouldn't cooperate with the prosecution. Eventually, the prosecutor dropped the charges, stating that there wasn't enough evidence for a conviction.

If you or a loved one was charged with a family violence offense in Austin, reach out to Smith & Vinson Law Firm. We understand the complexities of these matters and will fight hard toward a favorable outcome for you. Call (512) 359-3743 or submit an online contact form today.

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