A man from Cassville died after an officer shot him on Tuesday morning. The officer was injured after he says the man attacked him.
Friends and family are mourning the death of John Thomas, 25, of Cassville. They say it was not the John they knew who reportedly attacked the police officer. They believe it was caused by the mental illness from which he suffered.
A 9-1-1 call at 7:30 Tuesday morning reported a disturbance in progress.
Cassville police say Thomas attacked the first officer on the scene with a metal pipe. The officer then fired his weapon, and the young man died on the way to a Springfield hospital. The officer was taken to the hospital in Cassville for his injuries, and was treated and released.
"It’s a sad situation, and we’re handling it the best that we can at this point," said Chief Dana Kammerlohr.
"The officer involved was close to John," said family friend Wendy Testerman. "In fact, he would come to make sure John was taking his medicine. He respected him, done everything he told him to, always listened to him. I think that’s kind of why he felt comfortable enough to come alone, because John did listen to him. But it was just too much this time."
Testerman knew Thomas and his family since he was a child, and says his mother did everything she could to help her son with the psychological problems that tormented him over the last several years.
"Take him to the doctors and nobody would give him the medicine he needed, couldn't get into the mental health place until the 24," said Testerman.
Thomas’ family and friends wish they could have found him the help he needed before it was too late.
"He was a good kid, loved by a lot of people," said Testerman. "This wasn’t Jonathan. This was an illness that took Jonathan."
The officer, whose name was released on Wednesday, is Cpl. Donald Privett He is on administrative leave as the investigation continues. The Missouri State Highway Patrol and Barry County Sheriff's Department are helping with the investigation.