Parents of man killed by police speak out regarding mental illness

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MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. — After tragically losing his adult son earlier this week, Bob Dowell is sharing his story in the hopes of helping other families.

“It hurts when your hands are tied and you can’t do anything and then something like this happens,” says Bob Dowell.

Both Bob and his wife, Suzette, are mourning the loss of their son, Jeremy.  He was shot and killed by police on Monday morning in Lynnwood.

Investigators say a local business owner called 911, complaining that a man was behaving strangely and acting combative. When police arrived, detectives say Jeremy charged at the officers with a knife.

“How do you prove that a kid or somebody is unstable enough that they are gonna do harm to themselves or others? How do you prove it?” asks Bob.

Jeremy’s parents are sharing their story because they want to help other parents whose adult children suffer from mental illness.

“I know it’s got to be frustrating for a lot of parents out there, that I am sure are going through the same thing, to be able to get help for their adult children,” says Bob.

Bob says his son struggled with anger management issues and verbal outbursts from his teens into adulthood. At 36 years old, he says, Jeremy was unemployed and homeless, living in a tent next to their Mountlake Terrace home.

While they say Jeremy loved the outdoors and worked side jobs here and there, within the last month, Bob says, Jeremy became paranoid.  He says he thought people were trying to kill him. Bob says he tried countless times to get Jeremy help.

“I talked to him and said you know I think you should see somebody. And he’d say you guys are the ones that need medication,” says Bob.

Since he couldn’t force Jeremy into treatment, Bob turned to prayer.

“I’d say dear God, thank you for this day and thank you for our lives, for good health and good fortune. Please watch over my boys and help Jeremy. Help him with his anger issues,” says Bob.

Both Bob and Suzette hope Jeremy’s story will bring about change and empower other parents facing this same issue.

“I think there needs to be changes made in our laws to help people that have mental health issues. There’s got to be a better way. I know the adult child will probably be mad and angry at them for a little bit, but that’s better than being dead,” says Bob.