CA Hero Blows Away 18-Year-old Girl

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A family was crushed and a community is outraged after a call for help turned into a hasty death sentence for a disgruntled teenage girl with special needs.

On June 3rd, 2014, the Serrano family was having difficulty with a young female family member who suffers from a mental illness and depression. Yanira Serrano-Garcia, 18, had apparently gone off of her medication and became agitated and hard to control.

During past episodes, the Serrano family had called medical personnel to help them control Yanira. That Tuesday evening, they called the fired department for help once again. This time, however, police officers arrived instead of paramedics.

The family had instructed the dispatcher that the girl was acting erratically and wouldn’t put down a kitchen knife. San Mateo County deputies responded to the scene expecting to confront an armed suspect.

Deputy Mehn Trieu was among the first responders to the housing complex at roughly 9:23 p.m. Trieu exited his vehicle and found Yanira outside. Within 20 seconds of arriving, he determined she was a threat and opened fire, confirmed department spokeswoman Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt.

Trieu, a 9-year-veteran, claimed that he feared for his life and had to shoot the “knife wielding woman” nearly immediately after arriving. A family friend, however, described the object she was holding as a “butter knife.”

Yanira was struck and killed. No one else was injured. Deputy Mehn Trieu was put on paid administrative leave.

The shooting sparked outrage across the community.  Yanira’s friends and family described her as having “special needs” and that police officers may not have the training to deal with people with health issues such as hers.

“[Yanira] wanted to be normal. She wanted to stop taking her medication, and I get it. Sometimes when my feet hurt I just want to be normal. I don’t want to take pills. I get her…all we want is justice,” said a friend of Yanira’s during a community march. “Sadly, they mistook her for something she didn’t do, and a cop decided to get his gun out when he could have gotten out his taser, his pepper spray,” she said.

“I feel bad for her for what happened,” said Saul Miramontes, Yanira’s cousin. “I don’t know why this officer couldn’t understand what was going on through her life, or could have done at least something better than try to take her life away, you know?”

“She has special needs and we just want answers,” said Yanira’s brother, Tiny Serrano. “Who are we supposed to call now when we need help when who is supposed to help us is killing our kids?”

This incident represents yet another example of how calling the government to intentionally confront family members, particularly those with mental illness, often ends in unnecessary tragedy and death. It may prove wiser to find other ways to deal with such situations, avoiding the unnecessary introduction of armed strangers who are trained to use violence to eliminate any perceived threats — real or imagined.

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Contributed by Eric Peters of Eric Peters Autos.

Eric Peters is an automotive columnist and author who has written for the Detroit News and Free PressInvestors Business DailyThe American SpectatorNational Review, The Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal. His books include Road Hogs (2011) and  Automotive Atrocities (2004). His next book, “The Politics of Driving,” is scheduled for release in 2012. Visit his web site at Eric Peters Autos.

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  • I need my coffee

    Police officers, (wanna be) tough guys, who lack serious people skills traing.

  • Manny Buggers

    It would appear the ones who really need help and at least a temp ban on firearms is the police! I’m sure we, the citizens, can do better than “shoot first”.

  • buttcrackofdoom

    shoot first, and ask questions, NEVER!

  • CharlesH

    Just another pig feeling “threatened”. Seems they love using that word.

    • OldPoorRichard

      Well, cops have keen super-senses. Untrained laypersons won’t detect the extreme and imminent danger of a high school girl armed with silverware. Cops can smell marijuana that even dogs can’t smell. Cops can tell by the expression on your face that you are trafficking narcotics. Cops can detect when someone is secretly resisting arrest in a manner that is invisible to cameras.

      • CharlesH

        You’re so right – they have those super-duper senses that mere mortals only dream about having.

  • Justin OB

    Another example of unfit for duty, out of control cops. That girl was “off her meds” which is another example of big pharmas poison keeping people either forced to consume it or become irrationally violent. The two biggest threats to the average person are cops and medicated people.

  • Nexusfast123

    Don’t know what is going on in the US. Joe public seems to be fair game to these loons. A person with a knife is no threat to a person with a gun.

    • ontoiran

      she may not have been a threat; but that’s not true in every case. there is a distance (i can’t remember exactly what it is) but inside that distance you can’t draw, aim, and fire faster than someone with a knife can charge you

    • Rick E.

      You’re right! a person with a knife is NO threat to an armed person. Cops are using this as an excuse to murder we subjects of the USA, there’s no other rational answer.

  • Rick E.

    Cops have special needs too! They need to subjugate, humiliate, intimidate, beat down, shoot, and kill we subjects! It IS time to fight back.

  • Shirley Swanepoel

    I rather die than call the cops.

  • OldPoorRichard

    Never, ever say that a person is violent or a danger to himself or others. Say there’s a medical emergency, Don’t leave it up to a dispatcher or the pigs to decide, let EMTs decide when they arrive whether a cop is needed to protect themselves. NEVER mention a weapon (knife, etc.). It’s a death sentence.