Patient shoots Memphis mental health worker in the neck

As someone who has worked as a psychiatric home health nurse in a large metropolitan city, I can avow that it is a dangerous job.  You have no idea what will meet you when you get out of your vehicle.  I had several clients that I would only meet with on their front porches for my own safety.  I had clients with hordes of cats and when you entered the house you walked on chicken bones.  I visited with clients that had dogs chained to the four walls so you only had a narrow path to walk in without being bitten.  One client would meet me at the door with a baseball bat in his hands and if you would not put it down, I would leave.  The only thing I had different from the workers in this story is that I went out alone–and this was long before cell phones were so available.  I never saw any police at any of my stops, even when the client was known to be violent.

This article seems to be about a “crisis intervention team” type of home visit.  Even so, I am still surprised that there were only two of them.  It really is a miracle that more people are not injured or killed daily while out helping those in the community with mental illness diagnoses.

Posted: // Dec 16, 2009 4:57 PM CST Wednesday, December 16, 2009 5:57 PM EST Updated: // Dec 16, 2009 5:07 PM CST Wednesday, December 16, 2009 6:07 PM EST

By Anna Marie Hartman – bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) – A mental health worker was shot in the neck by a patient Wednesday afternoon inside a home in the 1600 block of Gregory.

Witnesses said the shooting happened after the two mental health workers were called to do an assessment on a man living in the home.  When they arrived, the man’s brother answered the door and told the suspect he had visitors.

Police said the suspect came up from his bedroom in the basement with a handgun and shot at mental health worker Angie Banks and her male co-worker.  Banks was not hurt, but her co-worker, a 40-year-old man, was shot in the neck and taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Relatives said home visits are a dangerous job for mental health workers, who respond to homes unarmed.

“When these people come out here they’re not armed to protect themselves, so I think you need to send the police or somebody out here to check on them, and then if they need to go farther then you call CSU to come out,” said Angie Banks’ sister, Debra Banks-Brooks.

Banks-Brooks said her sister was shaken up, and told her once the shot was fired, the brother of the suspect wrestled him to the ground, preventing him from shooting anyone else.

Police have that weapon and the suspect in custody.  Officials said he is a 49-year-old man who lives in the home full-time with his brother.

Charges are pending in the shooting.

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