The man fatally shot by police in Brooklyn Center this past weekend had a history of threatening suicide and suffered from severe depression that led to him stabbing himself in the abdomen with a large knife, according to a mental health court order that also warned five months ago that he was at risk of causing physical violence.
Kobe E. Dimock-Heisler, 21, was identified Tuesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office as the man officers shot Friday at the home where he lived with his grandparents in the 5900 block of Halifax Avenue N.
Officers were responding to a report of Dimock-Heisler wielding a hammer and a knife while fighting with his grandparents. Dimock-Heisler died at the scene from several shots fired by the officers.
The officers were wearing body cameras and were placed on standard administrative leave. Their identities have not been released. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has taken over the investigation. Authorities have not said what led police to shoot Dimock-Heisler.
On March 25, Dimock-Heisler was ordered by a Hennepin County court referee to be committed as mentally ill to North Memorial Health Hospital, two weeks after his admission there for a self-inflicted stab wound with an 8- to 10-inch steak knife. He hurt himself after clashing with his father, a court filing revealed.
Medical personnel treating him for the stab wound also noted numerous abrasions on his lower abdomen for “previously inflicted self-harm,” the filing continued.
He also was hospitalized in Minneapolis for several days in January after threatening suicide and running to a bridge. Dimock-Heisler later told medical staff, “I will be dead in three days,” the filing said.
Dimock-Heisler suffers from a “substantial psychiatric disorder … which grossly impairs his judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality and ability to reason or understand,” the order stated. “As a consequence, [Dimock-Heisler] poses a substantial likelihood of causing physical harm.”
Left facility after 3 weeks
The voluntary commitment to North Memorial for mental health treatment was to last for up to six months but was stayed by the court under several conditions, including that he not harm himself or others. He remained in the hospital’s psychiatric ward for three weeks before moving in with his grandparents, said Jason Heisler, Dimock-Heisler’s father.
His option to leave North Memorial was based on Dimock-Heisler’s treatment team concluding that he was taking his medications and his psychiatric condition was improving to the point that “he is no longer an imminent threat to himself,” the commitment order read.
Jason Heisler said Wednesday he was comfortable at the time with his son leaving North Memorial as soon as he did. “He did not like the psych ward,” the father said.
Of 183 fatal police shootings across Minnesota from 2000 until June 2019, at least 75 of those shot had a history of mental illness or were in the throes of a mental health crisis at the time of the shooting, according to a recent Star Tribune analysis. In response, some agencies have started pilot programs that pair officers with mental health specialists on emergency calls.
More broadly, a working group in Minnesota led by Attorney General Keith Ellison and state Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington started meeting last month as part of an effort to help officers and lawmakers grapple with a spate of fatal encounters that have sparked community protests, lawsuits and a re-examination of law enforcement practices nationwide.
After Dimock-Heisler left North Memorial and moved in with his grandparents, 76-year-old Erwin and 73-year-old Susan Heisler, he cooked for his grandmother and did laundry, the father said.
“He was his grandmother’s ad hoc caregiver,” Jason Heisler said. Susan Heisler relied on a wheelchair to get around and needed her grandson’s help getting in and out of the house. “Everyone describes him as very kind and generous.”
Jason Heisler also said his son was on the autism spectrum and studied culinary arts at North Hennepin Community College. Dimock-Heisler’s autism was not mentioned in the court order.
Bicycling, on two wheels or three, gave Dimock-Heisler great joy, his father said. In May, Dimock-Heisler pedaled a tricycle built with passenger seats at the May Day Parade. “He had kids on board sitting behind him and waving,” Jason Heisler said.
On Sunday, a celebration of Dimock-Heisler’s life is scheduled to start with a bike ride.