Navy Vet Dillan Tabares Killed By Cop Was Mentally Ill, Brother Says — Slain On Video In Huntington Beach

On Friday, a shocking video appeared on Twitter showing the fatal shooting of a man, later identified as 27-year-old Dillan Tabares, in Huntington Beach, California. The stunning video appeared to show the cold-blooded killing of Tabares by the police officer — whose name has not yet been released to the public — as the cop fired seven shots into Tabares at close range.

The following day, however, a longer video showing the deadly shooting was upload to YouTube by the site Blue Lives Matter. In the more complete version, Tabares is seen swinging a punch at the officer, then advancing as the Huntington Beach cop retreats. The two men then wrestle on the ground and at some point, allegedly, Tabares grabs for the officer’s service weapon.

After a few seconds, the officer separates himself from Tabares and the two men rise to their feet. At that point, the officer shoots Tabares seven times until the victim collapses against the wall of the 7-11 convenience store outside of which the shooting took place.

While in the longer video, Tabares appears to provoke the confrontation — though what took place before the altercation is not seen on the video and has not been revealed by police — there now appears to be more to the story. According to the slain man’s older brother, Tabares suffered from mental illness, which likely played a role in the confrontation with a police officer that got him killed.

Tabares served as an information systems technician in the United States Navy after he left Marina High School in Huntington Beach — located across the street from the 7-11 where he lost his life — and lived in Norfolk, Virginia, where he married. But his marriage and life deteriorated after his “less than honorable” discharge from the Navy, allegedly due to a failed test for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

According to his brother Brandon Tabares, in an interview with the OC Weekly newspaper, Dillan’s life quickly unraveled. His mother, Tiffany, confirmed that her younger son suffered from mental illness. In fact, the Navy had hospitalized Tabares for mental health issues before eventually discharging him.

“I know Dillan made mistakes leading up to his demise,” the slain man’s brother told the paper. “That doesn’t change the fact that I want to make sure that this never happens to anyone else’s family in the future. We have a systemic problem here.”

The longer video of the Dillan Tabares shooting and confrontation with a Huntington Beach police officer is below. Be warned — the video contains images of graphic violence and may be upsetting to many viewers.

According to a 2015 study of police-shooting victims conducted by The Washington Post, about 25 percent — or one out of every four victims of police shootings — suffer from mental illness, a situation that many police officers are not trained to confront.

About one in every 10 people who come into contact with a police officer is mentally ill, and mentally ill individuals are 16 times more likely than others to be killed by police, according to a study by the Treatment Advocacy Center in Virginia.

But Tabares may have been the victim of another systemic, mental health-related problem as well. According to a study by the U.S. government General Accounting Office, about 62 percent of military service members who are discharged “less than honorably” have previously been diagnosed with mental and neurological health conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Whether Tabares had ever been diagnosed with either condition has not been made public, but Tabares himself on his Facebook page discussed his struggles with depression.

[Featured Image by Dillan Tabares/Facebook]