Woman Says Husband Turned Violent, Destroyed Their Home
by Todd Walker
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – While a Putnam County man recovers in the hospital, his wife is sharing fear and frustration. She said he suffers mental illness, and her cries for help went unanswered for far too long.
It took a court order, a SWAT team and drastic measures to finally get him to treatment.
Friday night Donald Garrison was recovering in the ICU. It took drastic steps to get him there.
Sarah Garrison said her husband, Donald, is bipolar manic. Even though she feared for her life after he reportedly threatened her on Sunday, law enforcement could not step in and force Donald into treatment.
They said he had done nothing illegal.
By the time law enforcement could step in, Donald had turned violent and destroyed their Cookeville home.
"I've never seen anything like this in my life," Sarah said. "It could have been avoided. I really feel it could have been avoided."
Sarah said she called the mental health experts who had been working with her husband and the Putnam County Sheriff's Office throughout the week. She urged them to come and get him, and force him into treatment.
"There's a Fourth Amendment right not to have illegal searches and seizures," said Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews. "We can't just bust in a man's house and say 'you're going with us.' We can't do that."
Sometime Thursday, Donald's symptoms got out of control. He went on a rampage, smashing just about everything in his house and firing guns into the walls and through windows.
Fortunately, Donald was the only one home at that time and no one was hurt.
At that point, the SWAT team forced their way into his home and took him to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.
Both Sheriff Andrews and Sarah said something has to change with how the mentally ill are cared for in this country.
Sheriff Andrews said his jails have become the replacement mental hospitals.
He said that's because the funding for mental health has been decimated nationwide.
Students in the Academy of Energy and Power at Maplewood are busy getting ready for next week's Project Expo and had the opportunity to show it off some of their projects to Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.