Police kill transgender man with Asperger’s who gained fame from video with service dog

MESA, Ariz. -- Police in a Phoenix suburb shot and killed a knife-wielding woman whose struggles with Asperger's syndrome went viral last year when she posted an online video showing her service dog comforting her.

See Full Article

Two officers responding to a report of a suicidal woman were carrying stun guns but fired their weapons because they felt threatened as Danielle Jacobs, 24, lunged at them with a 12-inch kitchen knife in her home Thursday, Mesa Detective Esteban Flores said.

"They had a lethal weapon coming at them," Flores said Friday. "They were threatened."

Although police used her legal name, the Arizona Republic reported Friday night that she was hoping to transition from female to male and was known to friends as Kayden Clarke.

The newspaper reported that those who knew Jacobs as Clarke said Clarke was burdened by the combination of trying to transition, the Asperger's and other health issues. "He was frustrated that no matter what therapist he saw, no one understood and neglected his desire for health and happiness," said Kae Glenn, a friend of Clarke who is a transgender man, in a Facebook message to the Republic.

Jacobs' 2015 video showed her sobbing and striking herself while her dog tries to calm her down by approaching her and raising its paws. Her description of the video said it showed what it's like to have Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism in which people are highly intelligent but lack social skills and have narrow, sometimes obsessive, interests.

"She was trying to share the struggles some people with Asperger's go through and to try to take the stigma away," said Heather Allen, the founder of HALO Animal Rescue, a Phoenix-area organization where Jacobs had volunteered since she was 13.

"I also think she wanted to show what a dog can do to help people with a condition like hers," Allen added.

Allen said she called police Thursday to ask that they check on Jacobs after the 24-year-old sent a suicidal email that morning asking that someone care for her dog, Sampson.

Allen questioned whether it was necessary to shoot Jacobs.

"I wasn't there, so I don't know how she was behaving," Allen said. "I wish they had been able to use non-lethal restraint, if they could have used a Taser or a beanbag gun.

"She didn't have a gun. She had a knife," Allen said. "It just seems to me there could have been a better way."

One of the officers responding to the call was retrieving a bean bag gun when the shooting occurred, Flores said. Two officers stayed in the apartment, including one who had training in crisis intervention to deal with such situations.

Police refused to say how many shots were fired or identify the officers, who have been placed on desk duty as Mesa detectives investigate the shooting. The results of the investigation will be forwarded to the county prosecutor's office. Flores said the officers were not wearing body cameras.

It is the second time this year that Mesa police have been accused of using excessive force.

An officer killed an unarmed man at a hotel last month after responding to complaints about someone in his room with a gun. The only weapons police found were pellet guns that the 26-year-old victim used for his pest-control business.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Obama gets rock-star welcome in Berlin, praises Merkel

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- Barack Obama received a rock-star welcome in Berlin as he appeared at a public debate Thursday with Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he praised as one of his "favourite partners" during his presidency. Security was tight in front of the German capital's iconic Brandenburg Gate, where Obama and Merkel appeared on a podium before thousands of people attending a gathering marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Source
  • Georgia: Sheriff suspends self after indecency allegation

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- A Georgia sheriff recently arrested by an officer who accused him of exposing himself in a park has suspended himself for one week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann emailed sheriff's office employees Tuesday, saying he imposed the maximum penalty for conduct that "has a tendency to destroy public respect. Source
  • 2 dead following separate incidents in Montreal

    Canada News CTV News
    Montreal police are investigating the city's ninth and 10th homicides of the year in different neighbourhoods. One victim died in hospital Wednesday after being stabbed during an altercation late Tuesday evening between several people at a downtown intersection (Sainte-Catherine and Mackay streets). Source
  • Passenger: airline was warned about disruptive man at gate

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- Before a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu took off carrying a passenger whose inflight behaviour prompted bomb-threat procedures and military fighter jets to escort the plane, passengers complained to American Airlines workers that the man was scaring them, a woman who was on the flight said Wednesday. Source
  • Bodies on Mount Everest? Nepal officials question report

    World News Toronto Sun
    KATHMANDU, Nepal — Nepalese officials are casting doubt on the reported discovery of four bodies at the highest camp on Mount Everest. Officials said Wednesday that a team of Sherpa rescuers had found the four bodies inside a tent at the South Col Camp. Source
  • Manchester attack latest: Official says police will stop sharing with U.S.

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, England -- The Latest on the investigation into the Manchester concert bombing. (all times local): 12:25 p.m. A British official says police in Manchester will stop sharing information about their bombing investigation with the U.S. Source
  • 'Houdini' of death row set to be executed after 7 delays

    World News CTV News
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama inmate Tommy Arthur - called the "Houdini" of death row by some after he got seven prior execution dates postponed - is scheduled to be put to death Thursday evening. Arthur, 75, was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire slaying of Troy Wicker. Source
  • SCC to hear federal government's appeal on residential school records

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada is set to hold a hearing today on the federal government's appeal of a decision that allows personal records from survivors of residential schools to be destroyed after 15 years unless individuals decide otherwise. Source
  • Online dating profile created by ex-boyfriend makes woman target of late-night visitors

    Canada News CBC News
    She shudders with fear every time the buzzer in her apartment sounds, terrified the next stranger at the door looking for sex won't take no for an answer. The young mother believes her ex-boyfriend has set up a series of fake dating profiles under her name, encouraging men to arrive at the apartment for late-night sexual encounters. Source
  • More than a million restricted, prohibited guns in Canada

    Canada News CBC News
    A year and a half after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government came to office promising to tighten Canada's gun laws, there are now more than a million restricted and prohibited firearms across the country. The number of restricted firearms in Canada rose 5.5 per cent last year, reaching its highest point in more than a decade, according to the annual report from the RCMP's commissioner of firearms. Source