History of schizophrenia, lack of resources: the uncle of the shooter believes that the nephew did not mean to offend anyone

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — To his family, like his uncle Larry Derksen, he was Joey.

“We hurt for everyone who was at Target. We hurt for the law enforcement officer who had to make this choice,” Derksen said.

Derksen was Joseph Jones closest to a father figure.

Jones was identified as the shooter at a Target near West Center Road on Tuesday.

“As for schizophrenia, I don’t know what was going on in his head. But I know that with the ammunition he had and the kind of weapon he had and the time he had. hurting someone, he could do it. I just don’t think he realized the trauma and pain he caused even with his actions,” Derksen said.

Derksen says Jones has been in and out of psychiatric institutions on numerous occasions, but believes the system has let him down.

“Again and again, me (and) his grandmother, trying to petition them: “Hey, he needs help,” and they really could put him in the hospital for three days, give him medication. But when you have a severe mental illness of distress, (and) when you have the same diagnosis as him, it just wasn’t enough for him to clarify the situation in order to make (a) a rational decision,” Derksen said.

“How can you buy firearms after being repeatedly hospitalized for a paranoid schizophrenic,” he said.

Derksen says issues like a lack of mental health resources, families not knowing what to do, and cost and affordability all contribute.

“Here’s the long story of this 32-year-old man who was schizophrenic in the past and can’t be helped,” he said.

Derksen is in the process of starting his own non-profit organization.

“Don’t be ashamed of the non-profit organization, the idea is early intervention. Get a warm line to get people to call as soon as something starts before they’re in the position that Joey is in, and then assign a navigator to that person,” Derksen said.

Hoping to change the state of mental health resources in the community.

“Something has to change. We can’t just leave things as they are,” Derksen said.


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