Mental health specialist explains detention orders following deadly Columbus shooting

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COLUMBUS, Ind. – We’re learning more about the man shot and killed by a homeowner in Columbus.

That man was 38-year-old Derek Henderson. He was a veteran who had long suffered with mental health issues.

It was a call for help that led authorities to issue an emergency detention order on him, but the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office says three deputies failed to follow that detention order.

An emergency detention order directed “any police officer” to detain Derek Henderson for his “own health and safety” as well as the safety of others.

“The emergency detention generally gets started with a family member or mental health professional who understands the patient may need more evaluation. It’s signed by a physician, and it’s heard by a judge. If a judge agrees with it, deputies or police officers, they are dispatched to find the person and bring them to the hospital,” said Community Health Network’s Mental Health Counselor Kimble Richardson.

The deputies, identified as Lt. Gary Knoef, Sgt. Jason Lancaster and Sgt. Jason Williams, all made contact with Henderson, who refused to leave his home or let the deputies inside on January 3. The deputies left without detaining him and made no further attempt to serve the emergency order, according to Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew Myers.

Deputies say Henderson later went on a destructive vandalism spree. The next day, he entered a home about two blocks away on and confronted the homeowner with a baseball bat. The homeowner opened fire; Henderson suffered gunshot wounds to the head, chest and abdomen, according to an autopsy. He’d been ordered to be detained on grounds of mental illness.

Richardson can’t speak directly about this case but says there’s an international program called Crisis Intervention Team that teaches officers and deputies how to deal with people suffering from a mental health issue.

“Unfortunately, in Indiana, there’s only about a fourth of our counties have had this training,” Richardson said. “Sometimes, smaller to mid-sized agencies may not be as familiar with it and may not have the experience working in that area that often.”

Sheriff Myers says mental health is a national crisis, and he’s offering his condolences to Henderson’s family.

Myers also says he and two members of his leadership will be attending the Indiana Sheriff’s Association’s winter meeting, where mental health issues and training will be discussed and studied.

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