Posted on March 9, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Sunday, Mar 10 at 12:37 PM
Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl
ABITA SPRINGS, La. - A Northshore family is grieving the shooting death of an Iraq war veteran. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said a deputy shot the veteran in self defense.
Jason Glover, 32, earned a purple heart for his service in Iraq. He nearly died when an IED exploded under his vehicle in 2004.
Nine years later, a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Deputy shot Glover outside his Abita Springs home Friday night. Glover died at the LSU Interim Public Hospital Saturday morning.
A spokesman said deputies were responding to a call from Glover's girlfriend that he was armed with a handgun and threatening to kill her.
A St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Glover was sitting in his truck outside when they arrived.
They said Glover exited the vehicle holding a handgun. After repeated calls for him to drop the weapon, the sheriff’s office said Glover instead raised the gun and pointed it directly at one of the deputies.
That’s when the deputy fired at Glover, shooting him twice.
Just up the road, Glover's family heard the shots. They were too distraught to speak on camera, but said the Army veteran was not a violent person. They believe the deputy overreacted.
“He did not point a gun at anybody,” said Jerry Glover, Glover’s father.
Jerry Glover believes his son was ambushed outside of his home.
The shooting is under criminal and internal investigation, according to the Sheriff’s office.
"This young man has struggled greatly to adjust and to recover from his experience. Sadly, he and his family were ultimately unable to find the help he truly needed,” said Sheriff Jack Strain in a statement.
“As a veteran, it hurts to know our nation is failing us,” said Shawn Cronan, a Desert Storm veteran and founder of NOLA Patriots, a veterans advocacy group.
Cronan believes more should be done to help veterans readjust to civilian life.
“I've got a feeling there's going to be more of these incidents to come. I really feared something like this would happen. It has happened. Let's stand up and prevent any other from happening like this,” said Cronan.
Glover's family said he struggled with feelings of guilt that fellow soldiers died overseas, while he survived. They said dealt with those issues on his own, never seeking help.
They don’t believe he displayed signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
They added that he had a sound mind, never turned to drinking or drugs, held a steady sales job, spent a lot of time with his family, and graduated from Southeastern University after his time in the service.
Cronan said the images and experiences of war can stay with a soldier for a lifetime.
“There's always suspicions. Is this guy next to me going to hurt me?” said Cronan. “It’s very real. These are daily struggles.”
Veterans often fail to seek the help they need because of the stigma attached to PTSD, or because they or their families are not aware of the services offered, said Cronan.
The VA offers PTSD support groups, family counseling, substance abuse programs, and programs geared toward veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom .
Meanwhile, a grieving family is struggling to cope and praying for answers.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's office said the deputy involved will be able to get counseling and time off if needed, in accordance with policy.
A spokesman said the deputy's vehicle was not equipped with a camera, so there is no video evidence of what happened.
If you would like to find out more about NOLA Patriots, log onto www.NOLApatriots.org.