Man shot by police had mental illness, criminal history

By Carolyn Roy - bio|email

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - The man shot by Bossier City Police on Friday had a history of mental illness and run-ins with police.  Now, his widow has hired an attorney to conduct an independent investigation into his death and the officer's actions.

Shreveport attorney Elton B. Richey, Jr., says he has been retained by Gray's widow, Mary Gray.  "Mrs. Gray remembers her husband as a God-loving, helpful man who attended church regularly," Richey stated in a press release late Monday afternoon.  Gray and his wife had three children:  Two boys and an adopted daughter. They also had three grandchildren.

Bossier City Police say Gray assaulted a 77-year-old Walgreen's employee Friday afternoon, and put up a fight when he was pulled over a short time later.  Gray, who police say was not armed, was shot and killed after a second officer arrived on the scene. 

Over the weekend, Gray's sister, Carla Craig told KSLA News 12 that does not sound like her brother. "No.  He would have given you the shirt off his back, the last money he had to help somebody. That's's not him.  It's totally out of character, so I can't wrap my mind around what they say they're doing. I don't understand."

However, KSLA News 12 has confirmed that Gray has a history mental illness and run-ins with the law.   2001, Gray was committed for psychiatric evaluation after police were called to his home because he had a rifle and was threatening suicide. He was committed for evaluation at least three more times, as recently as last year.

His record also shows arrests in Bossier City for simple battery under the Domestic Violence Act in an incident involving his wife in 1999, as well as battery on a police officer and resisting an officer in 2002. 

Family attorney Elton Richey confirms that Gray suffered from bi-polar disorder, and that his odd behavior may have led to those run-ins with police.  In some of those cases, police records describe him as proclaiming he is "the chosen one," and pronouncing, "I am God." Extreme religiosity, Richey says, is known to be a sign of the mental illness.  In addition, Richey says Scott Gray was recently laid off from his job as a carpenter for lack of work.

Bossier City Police say the internal and criminal investigations continue, and more information could be revealed by the end of the week.

"I want the truth to come out," says Carla Craig.  "Whoever was in the wrong, that's what I want to know. If it was him, O.K.  If it wasn't him, O.K.  But we need some answers, to have some closure. We need some answers."

Family members have complained that they have received very little information from police.  Without accusations of wrongdoing, Richey says Gray's family hired him to get some answers.  "This is a police shooting, and police are investigating.  So they're essentially investigating themselves, and in these matters, it's often best to have an independent investigation."

Richey is requesting that anyone with any information concerning the shooting or the events leading up to it contact him, at (318) 227-1460.

Bossier City Police Spokesperson Mark Natale says the police chief would like to talk to Gray's family about their concerns, but cannot, since they have hired an attorney.

©2009 KSLA-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.