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‘What Triggered Him?’: Veterans Say Government Owes Atlanta Midtown Shooter Treatment Instead of Jail for Mental Health Battle He Faced Since He Left Coast Guard

An Atlanta-area veterans organization has spoken out to defend their fellow veteran who is accused of shooting five people in a medical clinic.

Justice for Veterans told Fox 5 Atlanta that 24-year-old accused Midtown Atlanta shooter Deion Patterson should be in a mental facility not behind bars. He is currently being held at Fulton County Jail with one murder charge and four counts of aggravated assault.

Wanted photo of Deion Patterson released by police (left); Surveillance video of Patterson pulling out a handgun in an Atlanta clinic. (Photos: Atlanta Police Department/Twitter)

“Before, it was police killing veterans. This time it’s veterans killing civilians,” said retired Lt. Col. Amos King to Fox 5 Atlanta.

Related: ‘There Is No Excuse’: Mentally Ill Man Who Couldn’t Afford $100 Bail Dies in Arkansas Jail After Starving In Cell

Witnesses say Patterson opened fire on May 3 just before noon in the waiting area of Northside Medical facility in Midtown Atlanta. He is accused of taking the life of 38-year-old Amy St. Pierre and injuring four other women before being taken into custody eight hours later about 20 miles away from the crime scene in Smyrna, Georgia, after fleeing in a stolen pickup truck.

It was reported that Patterson started shooting because he was denied the anti-anxiety drug Ativan and became angry.

His mother, Minyone Patterson, spoke about her son’s mental health issues after he was captured.

“My son, Deion Patterson, has an affliction with mental illness and mental health illnesses. A very disgusting disease that isn’t widely discussed. It’s not talked about. Everyone hides from it,” Minyone Patterson said to Fox 5 Atlanta on May 5.

“They made it to where we found the right cocktail and information for him that helped him to move throughout the days and learn his symptoms and how to try to, you know, make sure he took his medication.”

King says that everyone is focusing on the tragedy but not how it got there. Veterans across the United States have often complained for years about the lack of support and resources from the Veterans Affairs Health Administration. Veterans have faced problems with homelessness, mental health issues, unemployment, and other health issues.

In March, the VA announced that they plan to house 38,000 veterans, according to They housed 40,401 veterans in 2022 but 2,443 returned to homelessness. Their new plan is designed to keep veterans from being back on the streets and help them with the support they need to stay housed, which includes health care, job training, legal and education assistance, etc.

“What Deion Patterson did was wrong: He killed a person and shot four other persons, but he’s mentally ill, and the government has to afford him an opportunity to get well,” King exclaimed to Fox 5 Atlanta.

King seemingly questioned the assistance from the VA office.

“What caused that? It’s not the norm to do what he did. He went into a building and, according to the police department, after two minutes, he shot five people. That’s not normal, period. What triggered him?” the Army veteran questioned.

King also warned that Patterson wasn’t the first and won’t be the last if nothing changes.

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