Veteran Matt Negrete, who recently served in Afghanistan and Iraq, was shot by a guard after displaying a knife at an Oregon Veterans Affairs medical center.
The Associated Press reports that Negrete’s family blames the VA for not providing him adequate care.
Negrete — a husband and father of three — is currently in custody with bail set at $265,000 for the incident. He was charged with attempted assault and other charges that happened over the course of three days, including driving under the influence and attempting to elude police. (RELATED: Army Vet Takes Shocking Photos Of Trashed VA Clinic)
Negrete’s father Gilbert told The AP, “First they shoot him, now they’re gonna try to put him away. You would think they would have some concern about us. My son needs help, not prison.”
“Matthew drank heavily upon return from Iraq and was very angry, he barely ever slept and when he did the TV had to be blaring because he couldn’t handle silence,” Negrete’s wife told The AP. “My husband is a good, generous, caring man. He’s an amazing father and loves his children immensely… he just has issues preventing him from being that.”
An attorney for Negrete said his aggression was allegedly sparked after he showed up to the clinic for treatment and was told to come back later.
Negrete’s court-appointed attorney Christine Kantas Herbert told reporters, “Mr. Negrete returned from combat seeking treatment and was turned away, time and time again…Telling a vet who is experiencing PTSD to come back weeks later when their ‘medication is in’ is not being proactive.”
The VA itself states that about a fifth of all military veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq will have PTSD.
As Brent Brooks, who served with Negrete in Afghanistan, told The AP, “He’s being punished because it got to the point where he couldn’t take it anymore. It’s sad, because it can happen to any of our veterans. Others try to get help and wind up dead or in jail.”