Thursday, August 11, 2016

Kevin Higgins Survived Deployments But Not Being Back Home

Widow of shooting subject: The VA let us down
Miller Jozwiak
August 11, 2016
In the last eight days before Kevin died, he tried calling six different crisis hotlines to simply vent his thoughts. Nicole’s phone shows multiple calls to the lines, though Kevin's phone is still in possession of the police and the crisis lines are anonymous.

“There was one, a combat crisis hotline that we found,” Nicole said. “And a veteran on there did speak with him from a little before midnight until like four in the morning… All he wanted to do was talk. He just needed an outlet.”

Nicole Higgins has not tried to justify what her husband, Kevin Higgins, did.
(Photo: Submitted by Nicole Higgins)
Unanswered calls for help

“When he did get his medications in the mail, they’d always come late. His refills were never refilled,” Nicole said. “Say the doctor would write the prescription, and then it’s supposed to come every month, and it wouldn’t. We were having trouble because the meds come from Green Bay… And his meds came late.”

On July 17, Kevin robbed the Union Avenue Tap and raised an assault rifle at officers who responded, prompting them to fire six bullets into him.

She doesn't blame the officers who shot her husband to death that night. She said the officers were just defending themselves from a crime, but that the incident could have been stopped long before July 17.

“They did what they had to do,” Nicole said.

But as she received part of Kevin's medication mere days after his death -- medication designed in part to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder he developed following parts of his military service -- she found herself questioning why Kevin couldn't get proper treatment for the mental illness that precipitated his death.

“It really upset him that he was telling these veterans [at the VFW] that this is where you can get help and he’d reach out to those places and they wouldn’t help him,” Nicole said.
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