Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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WASHINGTON PARISH-The orange paint in a yard in Mt. Hermon draws a picture of what led to 56-year-old Johnnie Ryals being shot in the ear and jailed Sunday.
The Washington Parish Sheriff's Office was called here because Ryals allegedly shot out parts of his home and threatened his girlfriend, all due to claims that the new health care law, which hasn't taken effect yet, was preventing him from getting his medicine.
'For some reason he wasn't taking his medicine,' said Sheriff Randy Seal. 'He actually told his wife he wanted to throw his medicine away, what he had left. She wouldn't, so he went outside and threw it in the yard and she went out and gathered it back up and then he just kind of lost it.'
Neighbors, who did not want to go on-camera, say they could hear Ryals cursing and watched deputies surround the property in ditches as Ryals allegedly pointed several guns at the deputies before he was shot.
Ryals was moved from the hospital to the parish jail, but the sheriff says that isn't where he belongs. He believes more incidents like this where the community and his deputies are in danger are likely going to happen more often because there aren't enough mental health care facilities in the area.
Seal said, 'If the government's not going to help them and provide the medicine for them, and they're not going to take it properly, then we have to put them here to protect our citizens.'
Mental health advocates say it's frustrating to see the same scenario keep playing out.
'When I hear individuals that are maybe not able to access their medication or not able to access adequate mental health care, I don't wonder why it's happening, I wonder why's it's not happening more,' said Nick Richard, with National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Ryals is facing three counts of attempted murder, illegal discharge of a weapon, criminal damage to property, aggravated kidnapping and possession of marijuana.He remains in the Washington Parish Jail with a $300,000 bond.
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