San Diego County Board of Supervisors votes to study Laura's Law

Michele Kwik believes law could have saved son

SAN DIEGO - A deadly police standoff last month in Encinitas may help spark change in the way that the county handles people with mental illness by implementing a controversial law.

22-year-old Evan Kwik suffered from mental illness, but his family could not convince him to get treatment. Instead, he stole his sister's car, shot two deputies and then turned the gun on himself in Encinitas.

He was addicted to heroin and suffered from mental illness for much of his life.

In the week prior to the standoff, his mother Michele filed a restraining order in hopes to get him the psychiatric treatment he had refused since turning 18.

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

She wants the county to implement a law that would have forced Evan into treatment and on Tuesday, the county agreed to look into it.

Michele Kwik is out of state and happy that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to study Laura's Law. She believes that law could have saved her son and protected the deputies he shot.

"Thank God that Evan did not kill the deputies," she told 10News over the phone. "Laura's Law will protect the police also."

Laura's Law is named after a 19-year-old college student who was shot to death by a man with a history of mental illness. The law gives courts the strength to force treatment on people with well-documented cases of severe mental illness. Opponents call the law costly and say it infringes on people's rights, while Kwik says it may have given her son back to her.

"It's not the full answer," she said. "There are a lot of answers I would like to help bring about. It's just one small step in the right direction."

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to move forward with a 90-day cost analysis study of Laura's Law. The results of the study are expected sometime this summer.

 

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