On Monday, the Rutherford County Sheriff responded to a horrific murder-suicide scene that he said is becoming all too common.
"Unfortunately this is the second time this has happened in a short period of time," said Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh. "The first one involved two people, a man and a wife, and there again a child was involved."
The second incident happened on Rivercrest Drive when Sean Ganey shot his wife, Cassidy Ganey; his father-in-law, Kenny Adair; and Cassidy’s stepmother, Shelly Lorenz-Adair. Ganey then turned the gun on himself.
Deputies had taken Ganey to the hospital for a mental health evaluation just two days before. It's unclear what help he did or did not receive, but experts said his story shines light on shortcomings in the state's behavioral health system.
"Average length of stay these days unfortunately for individuals, especially at our state hospitals, is 3 to 5 days," said Kim Rush, co-chair for the Rutherford County Suicide Prevention Coalition. "And if an individual goes to a private inpatient facility voluntarily, sometimes they decide 'I don't want to be here and I'm checking myself out even against medical advice.'"
Rush said Rutherford County hospitals, law enforcement officers and private behavioral health facilities all work together to help people in crisis, and generally, communication and coordination between all parties is effective.
Detectives are still piecing together how Ganey slipped out of the behavioral health system, but Rush hoped his story will reach someone in need.
"If there's anything out of all the tragedy that ahs happened is that again, there is hope and there is help for someone who is feeling suicidal," Rush said. "You are not alone."
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.