MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A man shot dead by Miami-Dade police after robbing a Wendy’s restaurant Tuesday had a troubled past, and apparently suffered the mental ravages of war.
Yohans Leon, 28, was shot by officers on a pathway by a canal, after they said he brandished a semi-automatic pistol at them a few blocks from his home, not long after holding up the Wendy’s on South Dixie Highway in Cutler Bay.
CBS4 News has obtained court documents that show police were called to Leon’s home in July, 2012, where he had barricaded himself and was threatening suicide. He attempted to kill himself by setting the house afire. A SWAT team entered the burning house, subdued Leon, and firefighters, extinguished the blaze but not before it had done considerable damage.
Leon’s parents told police that he had served as a Marine in the war in Iraq, and since returning home had increasingly developed signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
His mother told police that he was paranoid, delusional, and talked of hurting himself. Leon was involuntarily hospitalized at the time for psychological evaluation, under a suicide watch. A criminal case against him was eventually dismissed.
Neighbors told CBS4 that Leon often behaved “strangely” and refused to respond to greetings.
When confronted by police Tuesday, he was a good two miles from the robbery scene, and cornered by officers on the canal bank.
When he drew his pistol, police say they were forced to shoot. Confronting multiple officers with a handgun, one source close to the investigation told CBS4 News, was a “disturbed” thing to do.
Given his history of mental issues and suicidal tendencies, a neighbor said Wednesday that Leon likely committed “suicide by cop.”
The FDLE is investigating the fatal shooting that Miami-Dade police say was unavoidable.
The two officers who fired their guns were veterans of 10 and 12 years on the force.