INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — We now know the identity of the man killed in a weekend shooting incident inside an emergency room on the Treasure Coast. But still a number of questions remain as to what led up to his death.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office said Zachary Taylor Anderson, 29, was shot and killed by deputies Saturday night after he charged at them with a pair of scissors.
The sheriff said Anderson had initially been taken to the hospital by family on March 25 because he had been harming himself.
While the timeline of exactly what happened is still under investigation, the initial report is that at some point, Anderson had been taken to another facility but was back in the emergency room when the fatal confrontation took place.
"The pandemic has raised the ante for everything," said Phil Cromer, a licensed psychologist and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Indian River County.
Cromer said he’s noticed a trend of increasing acuity and severity when it comes to mental health cases.
"The disorders are more severe. We’re seeing more psychotic disorders, things of that nature, just more of everything." Cromer said.
WPTV went by Anderson’s home in Sebastian, where a family member said they were too distraught to comment right now. WPTV tried to get more answers from Cleveland Clinic, the only intake facility in the county.
WPTV sent a series of questions asking about Baker Act procedures, how many spaces are available, who decides when it’s okay to move someone to another facility, and are there any policies regarding restraining Baker Act patients.
A spokeswoman said the hospital could not comment beyond the initial statement it sent out Sunday which said the “incident is under investigation and we are cooperating with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office."
The sheriff said Cleveland Clinic pays his office to provide a 24-hour security detail.
"I don’t think there could be enough right now because there is such an overwhelming need for mental health services," Cromer said.
Cromer said the peak of needed mental health services usually happens a year after a traumatic event like the pandemic so this crisis isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
"It's a terrible tragedy, a horrible thing to have to face for everyone involved," Cromer said.
Cromer said his organization doesn’t turn anyone away, and even provides an initial questionnaire online if you’re not ready to meet someone face to face.
For more information about the Mental Health Association of Indian River County, click here.