The attorney representing the Estate of Joshua Blough, of Big Clifty, who was shot and killed by Elizabethtown Police officers last month, released a statement on Thursday, Aug. 13, calling for the development and implementation of methods for managing mentally ill citizens in crisis.
Matthew W. Stein, of Stein Whatley Attorneys at Law in Louisville, has been retained to represent the Estate of Joshua Blough, who was shot and killed by Elizabethtown Police Department (EPD) Officers Scot Richardson and Matthew McMillen on Tuesday, July 7.
Stein’s statement reads as follows:
On July 7, 2015, Josh Blough was tragically shot and killed by officers of the Elizabethtown Police Department. Joshua’s family and friends mourn his loss, and your positive thoughts and prayers are much appreciated.
Although this terrible event remains under investigation, it is another example of the ultimate price mentally ill citizens pay when their symptoms go unnoticed or ignored. According to a Washington Post article, 500 people have been shot to death in the United States thus far in 2015, and of those, at least 125 were, like Joshua, in the throes of mental or emotional crisis.
In most of the cases involving a mentally ill person, the police officers who shot them were not responding to reports of a crime. More often, as in Joshua’s case, the police officers were called by relatives, neighbors, or other bystanders worried that a mentally fragile person was behaving erratically. In many cases, officers responded with tactics that quickly made a volatile situation even more dangerous.
We must commit ourselves to developing and implementing methods of managing mentally ill citizens in crisis, which are safer than sending armed police officers who are ready and willing to use deadly force. Otherwise, Joshua’s death and the hundreds of others who have died a brutally violent death will have been in vain.
We trust that the Kentucky State Police and other government authorities investigating this heartbreaking tragedy will do so in an unbiased and objective manner in order to produce a valid record of what actually transpired that day. Anything less would not only be dishonest, but also an insult to Joshua, his family, and the great citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
According to a news release issued by the investigating Kentucky State Police (KSP) following the July 7 shooting, at approximately 12:05 p.m. CST on July 7, Richardson and McMillen responded to a complaint of a man armed with a knife and acting erratically.
Officers located the man, later identified as Blough, at the 100 block of Fontaine Drive in Elizabethtown, and when they made contact with Blough, “he was armed with a knife and became agitated and confrontational,” the KSP release states.
Blough reportedly ignored numerous verbal commands to drop the weapon and approached the officers in an aggressive manner while still brandishing the knife, according to the release.
He was subsequently shot by the officers, who then administered first aid until emergency medical services (EMS) personnel arrived, the KSP release read.
Hardin County EMS transported Blough from the scene to Hardin Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.
An autopsy was performed in Louisville at the State Medical Examiners Office on Wednesday morning, July 8.
Both Richardson and McMillen were placed on paid administrative leave following the incident per agency policy.
Richardson, 37, of Elizabethtown, joined the EPD in January 2002. McMillen, 32, also of Elizabethtown, joined the EPD in September 2006.
The KSP was assisted at the scene of the incident by the EPD and Hardin County Coroner’s Office.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.