An Iraq War veteran died in a gunfight with police this past weekend, a tragedy that could have been avoided, his parents say, if the Kansas City VA Medical Center had only admitted him for treatment.
On Sunday, Sgt. Isaac Shawn Sims, 26, a third generation army veteran who served two tours of duty with the 82nd airborne division, was involved in a protracted police standoff which left him dead after he reportedly pointed an AK-47 at officers.
Prior to the shootout, Sims got into a fight with his father that escalated. After hearing gunshots, neighbors called the police, who relied on a SWAT team to subdue the vet.
Sims’ parents insist their son returned back from the battlefield suffering from severe PTSD, among other ailments, and ultimately requiring assistance from the VA.
“He needed treatment, he needed counseling, he needed someone to help him transition,” his mother Patricia Sims told KCTV, adding the injuries her son sustained consisted of, “An eardrum [that] had been blown out and he has 80 percent disability from brain injuries.”
“He had to pick up body parts, he had to move forward as if nothing happened,” Sims mother said, highlighting the causes of her son’s unshakeable bouts with depression.
Sims’ mother also described how her son would relive trauma when he rode around town in his Hummer. “And saying ‘this is how we look for IEDs mama. This is what we do. Round and round.’ Then he’d show me on YouTube the videos of an IED exploding,” Sims’ mother said.
Isaac’s erratic behavior gave his parents cause for concern, and they addressed the issue to the VA, telling them, “’he’s got a problem, there are issues going on, he’s not normal.”
“They said ‘we don’t have room for you.’ ‘Your problem is not big enough.’ ‘You’ll have to wait.’ ‘Get in line.’ ‘We’ll give him treatment in 30 days if a bed comes available,'” Isaac’s mother recalled their response.
Now their son is dead at the hands of police, and it all could have been avoided had he only been admitted, his mother says. “I know it would’ve. I know it would’ve. It would never have gotten this out of hand.”
“They let him fall through the cracks and he’s dead now because of it,” Sims maintains.
The vet’s death comes at an inopportune time for the Obama administration, who is trying desperately to put the deaths of 40 veterans at a VA facility in Phoenix behind them.
“..if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it — period. Here’s what I discussed with secretary Shinseki this morning. First, anybody found to have manipulated or falsified records at VA facilities has to be held accountable,” Obama said in a speech addressing the scandal last week.
Obama has thus far failed to hold anybody accountable for the debacle, as stated, but the debate has ignited a firestorm of controversy, with lawmakers from both sides of the political divide calling for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation.