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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Veteran suffering PTSD dies at scene while confronting police in Houston

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Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is speaking about the suspect’s shooting death. [Screen Captured from ABC 13]

A Korean-American veteran who had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) died during a confrontation with police officers in Houston, Texas, on December 1.

The tragic death of a second-generation Korean American veteran who was unable to cope with his PTSD from the trauma of war is causing grief.

Jonathan Yi, a 45-year-old former U.S. soldier who served in Afghanistan, was fatally shot by multiple police officers as he exited his residence at 15400 Flemington Ave in Houston, TX, with two rifles in his hands.

Sheriff Gonzalez reported in a press conference that neighbors found an abandoned car in the road around 10:50 a.m. on December 1, sparking an investigation.

On X, formerly Twitter, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced, “the male (Jonathan Yi) exited the residence and began shooting at deputies, deputies returned fire striking the male. The male has been pronounced deceased.”

Jonathan Min Jun Yi was identified as a Korean American who immigrated to the United States when he was a year old. In 2003, Yi enlisted in the United States Army as a Specialist in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy, and later served in Afghanistan.

It is known that Yi was honorably discharged in 2006 due to an injury sustained in combat.
Following his discharge, Yi suffered from PTSD, which eventually led to his dependence on drugs.

According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, “When the first deputy arrived, he heard shots being fired inside the residence and called for additional units. Deputies then reportedly set a perimeter and called their crisis negotiation team since Gonzalez said it involved a potential barricaded suspect. While deputies were securing the perimeter outside, officials said the suspect exited the home holding two rifles. That’s when five deputies opened fire and hit the suspect. He was pronounced dead at the scene.”

It is reported that no deputies were injured in the shooting, according to the sheriff’s office.

Court records indicate that there was an existing warrant for Yi due to issues with adhering to his community supervision conditions, specifically related to narcotics matter.

PTSD, which is most commonly seen in veterans, is the mental distress that follows a traumatic, life-threatening event. It’s common to experience mental distress after a war, but if it lasts for more than a month, it’s considered a symptom of PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include excessive tension, guilt, and blame, as well as frequent reminders of the traumatic experience.

Death of Jonathan Yi highlights the need for increased societal and community awareness and support for veterans suffering from the aftereffects of PTSD, including the risk of addiction.

BY JUNHAN PARK [park.junhan@koreadaily.com]