I-TEAM: New Details In Previous Pasco Officer Shooting Case - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

I-TEAM: New Details In Previous Pasco Officer Shooting Case

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As the investigation into the Pasco Police shooting of Antonio Zambrano continues NBC Right Now has uncovered new information about the shooting death of Brad Jensen who was shot and killed by Pasco Police last July. As the investigation into the Pasco Police shooting of Antonio Zambrano continues NBC Right Now has uncovered new information about the shooting death of Brad Jensen who was shot and killed by Pasco Police last July.
PASCO, WA - As the investigation into the Pasco Police shooting of Antonio Zambrano continues NBC Right Now has uncovered new information about the shooting death of Brad Jensen who was shot and killed by Pasco Police last July.

The Jensen family believes now is a good time to share some developments that might spark change. In our I-Team investigation we discovered discrepancies in police reports and what Jensen's family believes was a missed chance to save a life.

We first spoke quickly with the Jensen's on the phone the day after their 34 year-old son was killed. For months they waited before police eventually ruled the shooting justified. It was then that Brad's dad Chris Jensen who's a former Pasco officer himself called us back in November when he started to notice things. Things that were coming together and showing a new side to the story that no one knew before.

"My emotions swing from understanding, accepting, mad, frustrated and then questioning the process and what could have been or should have been handled differently," explained Chris.

Brad Jensen started drinking when he was 18. Family said he would rather admit that was more of an issue than the developing paranoid schizophrenia he'd later be diagnosed with.

Jensen was shot and killed by officers on July 28th, 2014 when they say he exited a house brandishing a knife and walking towards them. He had also been arrested back on July 9th but his family never quite knew why.

"Well, I didn't hear right back from him so that makes you nervous," said Julia Cruzen who works locally as a mental health therapist.

Cruzen was never Brad's counselor. In fact she never met him. On July 8th, 2014 their one communication was an email from Brad who had found her on a web site and sent her the following email just before midnight:

SUBJECT: HarrasedHarassedtally Abused.

"Would like to talk to you. Feeling suicidal but I don't know how to explain or feel comfortable talking to people about personal stuff. I feel the only solution is to take my own life and people agree."

Chris Jensen found the email exchange on Brad's computer after the investigation was completed. So he did some digging and so did we. We found Cruzen and met with her to ask more questions.

"You go with your instinct and if you need to call say law enforcement, crisis response, you do. Where it goes from there often times we don't hear especially if it's someone that's not one of our clients. There needed to be a well check or something to make sure this guy was ok," said Cruzen.

"Um, did you want contact from an officer?" asked the 911 dispatcher.

"If they could call me and just let me know."

The next day on July 9th Julia couldn't get in touch with Brad right way so she called 911. On the 911 recording the dispatcher calls brad the “patient”. The call for services report shows Pasco Police were dispatched to the patient's residence for a welfare check. The most highlighted note on that call sheet was that he was known to be at risk for suicide by cop.

"He reached out for help, do you think he got what he was reaching out for?" asked our reporter.

"No, I don't think he got what he was reaching out for. I don't think the mental health counselor who summoned the police there got what she was looking for," answered Chris.

Chris Jensen asked Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger to look into some of this new information now that the investigation was over. In a memorandum from December  that was given to Jensen, Pasco Police say it had been several days since brad's email for help before they got the 911 call, but according to our the email and documents it hadn't even been 24 hours.

Police wrote that their responding officers knew Brad had made comments about suicide by police. They also noted they found a warrant for Brad's arrest at that time for $350 he hadn't paid in Benton County. They said they had no reason to believe Brad was suicidal so they arrested him.

"No, I didn't know that that's what happened, no. I didn't know that they, that they made the decision that he is not suicidal and just arrested him like you're saying," said Cruzen.

But that's what police wrote in the memorandum. They said a welfare check was done and the counselor was informed of the warrant and arrest. Other than a quick call she remembers from officers to confirm the details of how Brad contacted her Cruzen says she was left in the dark. 

The officers had reported they had no reason to believe he was suicidal. So that weekend when Brad was sitting behind bars the Jensen's say they found a noose in the garage of the Pasco home where he was living. The marks they say they saw on Brad's neck started to make sense. So did brad's single Facebook post on the night before that said "sorry...feeling helpless."

The next proof of Brad's whereabouts after that is court documents. A judge asked days later if Brad could pay the fine. He said yes. He was let out.

“The mental health system crossed paths with the criminal justice system and all of a sudden a $350 warrant for failure to pay a fine becomes more important than this person's mindset," said Brad.

The Jensen's say Brad had a judge ordered Least Restrictive Alternative that would force Brad to be confined for 90 days if he showed signs of stress or mental struggle. The family thought the judicial system would see a red flag and keep him confined but it didn't. Even after the next few weeks while Chris says he made a number of calls to counselors to find help for his son.

"You know you question what happened and how it could have and should have been handled differently. I mean the emotion and what one goes through in these types of circumstances is indescribable I guess."

Almost 20 days later Brad had another bad night. Chris says Brad's girlfriend and uncle made the call on July 28th to 911 when they noticed he was acting worse than ever. Chris knows legally the fatal shooting that night was justified. He just wishes he had known more about the last time officers showed up. The family believes maybe then what their son, the officers, their family and others had to go through could have been prevented.

"Absolutely, it wasn't enough. In fact I question whether it was anything at all, let alone not enough. I feel very strongly that change is necessary."

Chris Jensen says he'd like this story to be examined as an example of missed opportunities to help people with mental illness before they reach points of crisis. He intends to help by working with the new mental health court being established in Benton County and the other programs our community is working to improve. 
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