Man killed in officer involved shooting was ‘very special needs’ and off medication
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The family of the man killed in an officer-involved shooting on March 21 has released a statement saying he was ‘very special needs’ and suffered with mental illness that was being treated with Clozapine.
The family says 49-year-old Kevin Keith Langemeier who died in the shooting, ran out of Clozapine just days before the shooting.
One medical expert explains the importance of this drug and how it could have been a factor in the case.
He says depending on the dosage and how long a patient has been taking it, if stopped, the side effects can be dramatic.
“Coming off a drug, probably your psychosis would be a lot worse, coming back to whatever you were being treated for in the first place, it could possibly actually worsen,” says Mark Vogler, Pharmacist at Martin-Tipton Pharmacy.
Vogler says he would describe the drug as a mood stabilizer; clozapine would help users think straight.
According to the family, Langemerier would become a different person when off of clozapine.
“When he didn’t have access to clozapine, it didn’t take more than a handful of days to take effect. He would get wild delusions about other dimensions and demons, stay up all night pacing, pounding on the walls and he would often need to go to the hospital to stabilize and get 100 percent back to normal,” said the family in a statement.
Although, Langemeier ran out of the medication before the shooting, the family says he was unable to get it refilled.
“There is a tight timetable in which he can refill, due to regulation surrounding the drug and the need for a blood draw,” said the family.
Vogler explains why the work is needed.
“Most patients take it with no problem, we’ve had patients taken off because of blood work and things like that, but I mean it wasn’t anything major, it’s something that you have to watch, but the doctors do that, they have to have blood work regularly,” says Vogler.
Full statement from the family:
“This is a statement on behalf of the family of Kevin Keith Langemeier, the man who was identified as the suspect killed by police on Paramount Tuesday, March 21.
We wanted to put his story out there. Kevin was very special needs and had a severe mental illness that was being treated with Clozapine. Clozapine had been identified as the only medication that could help him, and it was his critical lifeline. When he was on Clozapine, he was literally child-like due to his special needs. He loved science and technology, games, silly jokes and making people laugh. He was gentle, sweet, and obsessed with helping others.
When he didn’t have access to Clozapine, it didn’t take more than a handful of days to take effect. He would get wild delusions about other dimensions and demons, stay up all night pacing, pounding on the walls, and he would often need to go to the hospital to stabilize and get 100% back to normal.
A handful of days before the shooting, he ran out of Clozapine. There is a tight timetable in which he can refill due to regulation surrounding the drug and the need for a blood draw. It’s not something he can stockpile. His mother desperately tried to get his Clozapine restocked, but the Center in charge of his prescription had multiple delays for multiple reasons surrounding the government website supposedly being down, assigned staff being out, unanswered calls to them, mistakes made by other staff, and then regular closures on the weekend. She made multiple phone calls to the Center and also pleaded with multiple pharmacies to fill this prescription throughout the week before the incident. However, despite Kevin running out of Clozapine on Wednesday, it wasn’t filled until Monday. This was the day before his death. By that point, his mental disorder had taken control and his mother didn’t have resources to calm him down and stabilize him. We knew he was relapsing, but he hadn’t done or said anything by this point that we could have him committed or arrested.
We wanted to make it clear, the weapon he had was very realistic-looking, but it wasn’t a real gun. He never intended to hurt anybody else, and that’s what he said before leaving. Based on what we know, we don’t blame the police. We do wish there was some kind of emergency resource other than the police to intervene the night before.
We also wish to thank all the people both who knew him and who didn’t know him for their kind words related to Kevin and his story. We believe this story is primarily about the failing of the mental health system, and we hope things will improve for others some day.”
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