FAIRHOPE, Ala. (AP) — The shootout that left one Alabama deputy sheriff dead and another in critical condition on Saturday began when they checked on a man at his mobile home and he opened fire on them, authorities said.
Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Mack told AL.com that gunfire erupted Friday after Michael Jansen pulled a handgun on Deputy Scott Ward and his colleagues outside of Jansen's Fairhope-area home.
Ward was fatally wounded after responding about 4 p.m. with two other deputies to a family disturbance call at the residence. Deputies returned fire, killing Jansen.It turns out the shooter was a mentally unstable person and in recent years his mother had attempted two times to have her son committed to a mental health facility and placed under psychiatric care.
But unfortunately budget cuts in the Alabama have targeted mental health institutions, leaving the care and treatment of more patients like Michael Jansen to "community based" treatment centers, aka, roaming the streets and living with mom in the trailer. ADMH Announces Searcy Hospital Closure Date
Hopefully in Alabama as law enforcement officials, politicians, and the heavily conservative electorate pay their respects to the fallen officer, they will take some time to reflect on their collective decision to pare back the state budget for mental health treatment facilities, leaving Officer Ward and other Alabama law enforcement personnel vulnerable to ambush attacks such as this. This tragedy was preventable.