Years ago when her sister died, Marti Guilbeau took custody of her nephew, a mentally ill boy by the name of Linel Lormeus. Lormeus couldn’t do much because of his illness, but he was generally calm, and Guilbeau treated him as her own.
“He became like my son,” she recalled.Lormeus and Guilbeau had some type of domestic disturbance over the weekend. Guilbeau tried to get him under control and she ended up leaving the house to ask a neighbor for help. The neighbor instead called 911. The woman told deputies that Lormeus suffered from a mental illness and had stopped taking his medication.
Three deputies arrived at the scene and Guilbeau told them her adopted son was mentally ill, and she asked them to be gentle with him. When deputies knocked at the door, Lormeus opened it and allowed them inside, Guilbeau said. He panicked when they tried to handcuff him.
According to the police, Lormeus ran as soon as deputies arrived.
Lormeus suffered a medical emergency as he was handcuffed. One deputy performed CPR as another ran for a defibrillator. Paramedics were called to respond to the scene. Lormeus was taken to the Pine Ridge campus of Physicians Regional Hospital, where he died at 11:44 p.m.
Guilbeau mourns her adopted son’s death, and she wonders if deputies could have handled the situation more gently after a neighbor called 911.
“He called police for help,” she said through a translator. “Instead, they killed (Lormeus).”
She said her adopted son had received treatment in and out of Haiti for his mental illness. He had been prescribed pills in Haiti, but he didn’t have them in the U.S. during his latest stay. Guilbeau estimated that roughly a year and a half had passed since Lormeus last took his medication.
“The police are supposed to help, gently,” Guilbeau said.