Law Enforcement Officer Kills Yet Another Black Man in Crisis

Patrick Warren, Sr., Shot to Death by Officer During Mental Health Welfare Check

Patrick Warren, Sr., was killed by a police officer in Killeen, TX, on Sunday, 1/10/21.

Patrick Warren, Sr., a pastor in Killeen, TX, was killed by officer Reynaldo Contreras during a welfare check on Sunday. When Warren showed signs of emotional distress, his family called 911 for assistance. Killeen is located in Bell County, which employs Mental Health Deputies—officers trained in crisis intervention whose goal is to divert folks in crisis away from hospitals and jails by providing them with alternative resources in the community. Warren’s family was told a Mental Health Deputy was unavailable and an officer was dispatched instead.

Contreras responded to Warren’s home and left when Warren told him to. Moments later, Warren exited his home waving his arms and walked toward Contreras. Contreras tased, then shot Warren. He then aimed his gun at Warren’s wife, Barbara, and told her to stand back. He turned his gun on Warren and shot him again. Warren was unarmed.

23% of people shot and killed by police since 2015 were experiencing a mental health crisis at time of death. BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks in crisis are at increased risk for harm when cops become involved in their mental health crises.

This is why we don’t call 911 on people in crisis. This is why we have to find better answers.


You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800–273–8255, Trans Lifeline at 877–565–8860 (U.S.) or 877–330–6366 (Canada), BlackLine at 800–604–5841, or The Trevor Project at 866–488–7386. If you’d like to talk to a peer, warmline.org contains links to warmlines in every state. If you’re not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741–741.

NOTE: Many of these resources utilize restrictive interventions, like active rescues (wellness or welfare checks) involving law enforcement or emergency services. If this is a concern for you, you can ask if this is a possibility at any point in your conversation. Trans Lifeline does not implement restrictive interventions for suicidal people without express consent. A warmline is also less likely to do this, but you may want to double-check their policies.

Dese’Rae L. Stage is an artist, mom, suicidologist, speaker, student, & activist based in Philadelphia, PA. deseraestage.com & livethroughthis.org

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