Family releases statement after West Union deputy shooting - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Family releases statement after West Union deputy shooting

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Steven Harreld (Courtesy Harreld family) Steven Harreld (Courtesy Harreld family)
Steven Harreld (Courtesy Harreld family) Steven Harreld (Courtesy Harreld family)
FAYETTE COUNTY (KWWL) - The family of a man who died after shooting a reserve deputy before turning the gun on himself has released a statement.

The Harreld family released a statement and photos of Steven Harreld, 32, to KWWL on Tuesday after authorities say he shot a jailer from the Fayette County Sheriff's Office on Saturday.

The statement, released by Harreld's sister, Michelle, reads as follows:

"The family of Steven James Harreld is deeply saddened by the loss of our precious Steven and sincerely grateful that no one else was injured. Steven was an incredible young man. His years of suffering to understand himself and the way he fit into the world around him prevented him from realizing how incredible he truly was.

"Steven's long struggle and relationship with the court systems will be detailed in the coming days. What may not be as readily discussed is Steven's battle with bipolar disorder, depression and substance abuse. Americans with mental illness and substance abuse disorders are disproportionately impacted by our criminal justice system, and Steven is no exception.

"More than a quarter of Americans living with mental illness are arrested over a 10-year period, according to data compiled by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And when people with mental illness or a history of substance abuse are incarcerated, they tend to stay in jail longer than other offenders without these disorders.

"Our jails, courts, and law enforcement agencies are often unequipped to offer proper support and treatment to those experiencing mental health crises.

"The family hopes this tragedy will spark conversation about mental illness and substance abuse and the compassionate measures and training (such as attending the Annual Governor's Conference on Substance Abuse) that must be in place to ensure the most vulnerable Americans are safe when they interact with the criminal justice system.

"One in four adults and up to 20 percent of youth experience mental illness in a given year. You are not alone. If you, your family or someone you know needs support or are looking for more information, there are resources available and people who want to help. Please consider visiting The National Alliance on Mental Illness website at"

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