CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. - A family is left devastated after deputies shot and killed their son on Saturday when he threatened to kill himself and his wife.
The man’s parents say the father of four suffered from PTSD and depression after serving in Afghanistan.
"He loved his kids. He loved his family. I always called him my American hero," said Lisa Batchelder, mother of 28-year-old Ryan Batchelder.
Right out of high school Ryan Batchelder joined the army.
"He went over to Afghanistan. He left as my little boy and when he came back he just wasn’t the same." said Lisa.
Ryan’s mother Lisa says he never talked about his time in Afghanistan, only mentioning that one day he switched shifts with a friend, and that friend was killed in an attack.
"He said it should’ve been him," said Lisa.
Ryan was honorably discharged. He suffered from PTSD and took medication for depression. His parents say their son sought help through the V.A. but was discouraged by having to wait months between appointments.
We reached out to the North Florida V.A. who told us the wait time at their Lecanto clinic is currently one day. But Lisa says there were more issues.
"He was so upset that he would tell his story to one counselor and then that counselor would be gone, and it happened again and again," said Lisa.
On Saturday morning something made Ryan snap. He was having marital problems and told his mother he was going to kill his wife and himself.
"I was rubbing his head. He said I’m a burden to you, mom." said Lisa.
Lisa tried to stop him but couldn’t so she called the police and her husband.
"I knew it was for real when I saw the AR-15's pulled out, but I had no clue how real it was," said Michael Batchelder, Ryan's father.
Michael was there when Ryan smashed his vehicle into a deputy’s car.
"I was watching my boy get shot. There was nothing I could do. I begged them to stop shooting. I can’t close my eyes," said Michael.
The Batchelder’s don’t blame the deputies but wish it could’ve been easier for their veteran to get help.
"They need more providers for our soldiers. They need to figure out how to hold those providers." said Lisa.