Newest county supervisor wants to implement Laura's Law in San Diego County

Bill could have helped parents of Evan Kwik

ENCINITAS, Calif. - A 10-hour SWAT standoff that ended when an Encinitas man with mental illness took his own life in February was described by San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore as dangerous and volatile.

A state bill named after a slain teenager could have helped Evan Kwik's family when they pleaded for help. Now, the newest county supervisor wants to implement that bill in San Diego.

"They need tools to be able to provide these services for their loved ones," said Supervisor Dave Roberts, who represents District 3. "That's what we're looking for."

Roberts told 10News about a proposal to implement Laura's Law. If approved locally, it would allow courts to order those with severe mental illness and a past history of violence to stay in treatment as a condition to living in the community.

"Not everybody is supportive of Laura's Law because it has the involuntary hold or the opportunity for people to be medicated," said Roberts.

The law was named after 19-year-old college student Laura Wilcox, who was shot to death in 2001. She was shot by a man who resisted his family's attempts for psychiatric treatment.

Laura's Law was signed into state law in 2002 but has to be approved by each county. To date, only one county has implemented it: Nevada County, which is where Wilcox was killed.

"Laura's Law is mandatory… our law is voluntary," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents District 2.

Jacob and Roberts are asking the Board of Supervisors for a 90-day study of how Laura's Law or a hybrid program could help parents like Kwik's mother.

Court documents obtained by 10News last month showed Kwik's mother filed for a temporary restraining order less than one week before the standoff.

She wrote, "Evan is a heroin addict and has emotional issues. He stole his 19-year-old sister's car to buy heroin."

She also feared that he would take his own life.

"He is better off in jail than in a grave," she wrote. "Please, please help me help him."

Kwik shot himself inside the home as the SWAT standoff came to a close. Deputies had been at the home least three times before.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the issue on Tuesday.

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