Preston Thornton’s mother expressed her belief that officers should have more training to handle situations dealing with mental problems. Natalie Wilson is Thornton’s mother. She was in the room with her son and sheriff’s deputies when they confronted each other Wednesday morning. Deputies had been called to the residence on Banks Street, just off the Red Oak Road south of Coushatta.
The Journal interviewed Wilson Wednesday afternoon. She described the mental state of her son early that morning and the night before. Wilson said her son suffered from PTSD following his return from service with the US Army, which included time in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thornton’s sister Sydneye had spent the night before talking with him during an episode she describes as paranoia. She said Preston Thornton had spoken with a representative of the Veterans Administration by phone for several hours. Thornton had agreed to allow himself to be transported to the VA in Shreveport to receive treatment Wednesday.
Sydneye Thornton said she and a representative of the VA were on the phone speaking with Preston Thornton Wednesday morning and his mother Natalie Wilson was in the room with her son when sheriff’s deputies and EMS arrived to transport Preston Thornton. Sydneye Thornton said, “The VA representative had spoken with the deputies on the phone to tell them what you’re dealing with. The VA representative asked the deputy ‘Can you transport?’ and the reply was ‘yes.’”
Wilson and Sydneye Thornton described the scene to the Journal. They said, “the deputy told Preston Thornton to hang up the phone. He replied to the deputy ‘are you drawing your gun?’” Wilson said, “The deputy went to take the phone from my son and the shooting started.”
The Journal asked Wilson if her son had a gun. She replied, “I don’t know.” We asked if she saw a weapon and Wilson replied “no.” The Journal asked “Did you specifically see who did the shooting?” and Wilson replied “no.” Wilson added, “I thought everyone was dead because of so much shooting and so much blood. My son ran out of the house and he lay by the side of the road. He was there approximately twenty minutes before anyone went to Preston. EMT was here and they did not touch him.”
Wilson said, “They need to have someone who is intelligent to handle mental problems. They need training to handle this situation.”