Thursday, August 4, 2011

Homeless man's death after arrest outrages father

FULLERTON, Calif.—In the nearly two decades since his son descended into madness, Ron Thomas has worried every day that the schizophrenic 37-year-old would die of exposure or illness on the streets. He never imagined the end would come in a violent confrontation with police.

The death last month was the end of a trajectory that began when Kelly Thomas was in his early 20s and started showing the first signs of what would later be diagnosed as schizophrenia: he shuttled between addresses, preferred to sleep on the floor and stopped showering.

In treatment, Thomas did well and was able to hold down a job—but when he stopped taking his pills, he disappeared onto the streets. He racked up an array of charges, from public urination to assault with a deadly weapon, and alarmed his parents with his bizarre behavior.

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