Rolando police shooter's neighbor: ‘He was sick'

Gunman received multiple emergency visits prior

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Dozens of bullet holes line the apartment complex hallway where a man was killed after shooting two police officers last month.

Those familiar with the gunman say Joe Darwish gave authorities plenty of signs before his death.

“I’m sad it had to get to this point and we couldn’t do something before, but I’m not surprised,” said Heather Dumitru who briefly lived next to Darwish at the Tuscany Place apartments in Rolando. 

Dumitru eventually filed a restraining order against Darwish after multiple violent outburst culminating in a physical assault against her in January of 2017 minutes after a psychiatric emergency response team (PERT) visit to Darwish’s apartment.

“He charged me,“ said Dumitru, “he proceeded to beat my head until I was unconscious”

Dumitru says it feels like like Darwish slipped through the cracks because of how he was dealt with by authorities in previous calls.

“They would go ‘oh Joe? Ok we’ll have somebody over there.’ Casual nonchalant because we had already been dealing with this multiple times a night for a month at that point.” said Dumitru.

Court records show Darwish had a history of behavioral issues and several PERT visits.

“He was sick,” said Dumitru, “it wasn’t him it was something within him and he could have gotten help but he wasn’t trying to seek out the help himself.”

‘Laura's law’ allows a judge to institutionalize someone with a court order, but in the three years it's existed in San Diego, that part of the law has not been used.

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