MEMPHIS, Tenn. – As FOX13 learns more from the friends and family of Jarrad Nathan, the man charged with shooting into the FOX13 station, one thing is becoming abundantly clear, he is a young man who has faced mental health struggles for years.
Nathan’s mother told FOX13 his problems started in his early years and he eventually spent time at the Lakeside mental health facility.
Friends of the suspect said his condition had gotten worse over the last year.
A woman who requested only to be identified as Anne spoke to FOX13 outside 201 Poplar.
She had stopped by to make sure Nathan was getting a mental health evaluation as he was processed.
She said she got a call from him right after he shot into the station and before he entered a standoff with police at Ubee’s.
“He just called me and was like, ‘I just shot at the news station. I just shot once, come get my gun,’” Anne said. “He didn’t want y’all to think he was trying to hurt y’all, he just wanted to be heard.”
A shot was fired at the FOX13 station around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
Anne said she had been friends with the suspect for years.
She said over the past year, he had been shot, driven over by a car and was hit especially hard by the death of Tyre Nichols, all while experiencing homelessness and couch surfing to get by.
She believes he came to the station to uncover more information about the Nichols case, which he had been talking about the last time the two spoke.
“He was talking about that a lot this weekend,” Anne said. “He was talking about how he thought y’all had more footage.”
Anne said Nathan repeatedly asked her to come to the station and meet him, something he kept asking viewers on his Facebook Live video to do as well.
She believes he intended to stage a protest.
“I don’t think mental health started at this,” his mother said. “I think the mental health started at 13, 14 years old. I think it started then. Like I said, it has not been an easy road as a parent to deal with my son.”
The scene that played out at the FOX13 station on South Highland Street is not unique to our building. Across the Mid-South and across the country we’ve seen the same story play out, someone with a known mental illness and a gun.
“I want the viewers to know that he’s not a bad person at all,” his mother said. “He one of the nicest and kindest you will meet. Everybody has another side to them. I think my son is crying out for attention because he needs some help. Anybody who would come to the news place and shoot at anybody, that is a cry for help.”
Bluu Davis, an advocate for people experiencing homelessness with the nonprofit Love Your Neighbor 901, spoke to FOX13 and to Nathan’s mother about the struggles those in a mental health crisis face.
“I just want to make a quick message to the mother: don’t give up,” Davis said. “We do everything that we can. Mental health is very important and we really need to get some more affordable options for all communities.”
Even for those who can afford the required mental health someone may need, Davis said it’s still an extremely uphill battle to get someone that treatment against their will.
Violent and tragic events can be difficult to process or cope with, and the stress of these events can impact your mental health.
Anne said she helped talk him down and the suspect eventually surrendered.
“What we have to do, unfortunately, in this day and time, businesses and organizations and television stations have to take preventative measures,” Bennie Cobb, a longtime veteran of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement expert, said. Cobb was glad to see the situation resolved without loss of life and hopes the suspect will get the help he needs.
“It really depends on how the justice system is going to handle this. Unfortunately, it is not always in their favor,” Davis said. “They may end up just going to jail and not getting the help that they need. They may get out in a few years or make bond, then it’s back to the street with no resources.”
Anne said as she waits for the situation to play out, she’s just hoping for the best for her friend.
“A lot of people feel like they can’t go get help, because men are supposed to be stronger,” she said. “I just wish he could have gotten help sooner and not gone this route to get the help he needed.”
In the State of Tennessee, if you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call 855-CRISIS-1 or 855-274-7471.
The Memphis Crisis Center is also a 24-hour lifeline for those needing assistance.
Alliance Health Services offers two hotlines for those in need. Their adult crisis line is 901-577-9400. Their children’s crisis line is 866-791-9226.
For children, there’s also Children’s Mental Health provided by Tennessee Voices. Their number is 800-670-9882.
If you can’t or refuse to call and would rather text someone, their is also a Crisis Text Line for people in Tennessee. That number to text is 741741. Texting that number will connect you with the Crisis Text Line and a trained counselor.
Please, see the link above for more mental health resources both in the Mid-South and across the country.
Download the FOX13 Memphis app to receive alerts from breaking news in your neighborhood.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD