A transgender man with Asperger’s Syndrome, whose YouTube video went viral last year, has been shot dead by police.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Danielle Jacobs, 24, who identifies as a male with the name of Jayden Clarke, made headlines in June after a YouTube video she made of herself being comforted by her dog, Samson, during a meltdown went viral.
— Asperger Syndrome (@AspergeRRs) February 6, 2016
On Thursday, Jacobs was shot dead by police after they responded to a suicide call at her residence in Mesa, Arizona, as reported by ABC 15 Arizona.
Jacobs’ mother Stacia told the New York Daily News that officers were well aware of Jacobs’ special needs before entering the residence.
“Before the police arrived she wasn’t posing a threat to the community at all. And the police came into her own place. They shot and killed a 24-year-old autistic, mentally ill individual whom they had been familiar with and aware of her special needs.”
Detective Esteban Flores, of the Mesa Police Department, confirmed that officers responded to a suicide call at the same residence two years earlier.
— Diane Gardner (@abronxchick) February 6, 2016
According to Flores, Jacobs told police on Thursday that Jacobs had a knife and was going to hurt herself.
“When she made contact with them she approached [two officers] with the knife, extended it out, and they felt threatened.”
— Charly Edsitty (@CharlyEdsitty) February 5, 2016
Flores confirmed that officers fired their weapons and an investigation is underway.
The mother of the woman with Asperger’s told the New York Daily News that all seemed well before the incident.
“I talked to her last night and the night before and she seemed fine.”
— BlastingNewsUS (@BlastingNewsUS) February 5, 2016
Stacia and others are questioning whether the shooting was necessary, adding that Jacobs was known to be a “caring young woman.”
When Jacobs’ meltdown video first went viral, she told The Huffington Post that Samson steps in whenever things get difficult.
“When I have a meltdown, I often have self-injurious behavior and I often self-harm.”
In the video that went viral, Jacobs’ dog, Samson, is seen trying to stop her from harming herself. As she hits herself continuously, Samson tries to get in her way. He doesn’t give up, and eventually showers her with lots of licks when she’s on the ground. According to KHOU, Samson could calm Jacobs in less than a one minute.
The news of Jacobs’ death has devastated the Asperger’s community. Dr. Julian Maha, founder and CEO of the autism nonprofit, Kulture City, told The Mighty that they are devastated by Jacobs’ death.
— Colorcards Apps (@colorcardsapps) December 13, 2015
“Our hearts and prayers go out to Danielle’s family and friends. This tragedy highlights the increased need for first responder training to teach first responders to effectively interact with autistic and special needs individuals. The training will give them much needed tools to effectively communicate with autistic individuals, help keep both parties safe and hopefully prevent tragedies like these.”
No law enforcement officials were injured in Thursday’s incident, and the officers involved were placed on administrative leave, which is standard for officer-involved shooting situations, according to ABC 15 Arizona.
[Image via Twitter/saysdotcom]