Austin Heiselman Was Possibly Suffering Through Mental Health Crisis Before Being Killed In Fullerton Police Shooting

pexels-kindel-media-7715238FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA (May 9, 2024) – A 48-year-old man identified as Austin Heiselman has tragically died in a Fullerton police shooting following a pursuit.

Orange County officials are saying that the incident took place around 1:00 a.m. on February 10. Fullerton police officials tried pulling over Austin Heiselman and were led on a pursuit.

The pursuit ended when the suspect crashed into another vehicle. Police claim that Austin Heiselman engaged in a “shooting stance” prior to opening fire.

The officers said that they recovered a replica gun from the scene. Despite life-saving measures, he was later pronounced dead.

Austin Heiselman’s father called police prior to the shooting and said that his son may be suicidal. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Fullerton Police Shootings

Police shootings are far too common across the United States. Many of these shootings involve people suffering from an untreated mental illness. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, “The risk of being killed while being approached or stopped by law enforcement in the community is 16 times higher for individuals with untreated serious mental illness than for other civilians.” Police departments should take a number of steps in order to prevent fatal shootings involving their officers.

  • Police officers should be trained to de-escalate encounters.
  • Police officers should have less-lethal alternatives.
  • Police officers should determine if suspects are mentally ill.

Police officers have a legal obligation to use the least amount of force necessary for any given situation. Pursuant to 42 U.S. Code § 1983, every person who, under the color of any statute, law or ordinance, causes a citizen of the United States to be deprived of their rights secured by the constitution, shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law. Victims of police brutality often suffer very serious and costly injuries, including:

  • Head injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Organ damage
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Death

Police shootings often involve officers who are either unwilling or unable to de-escalate encounters. This is particularly true when the police encounter suspects who may be suffering from a mental illness. However, there are police protocols for dealing with mentally ill suspects. The family of any person who died in a police shooting may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim.


Investigating Fullerton Police Shootings

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Austin Heiselman. Any person who may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be some accountability for the sake of the victim’s family.

Do you need more information about a Fullerton police shooting? Our team of civil rights attorneys is here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that people are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into a police shooting, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.



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