Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vietnam Vet's avalanche flashback

Stress disorder suspected in attack
Family of Olympian's father says he suffered from war flashbacks; Fresno police defend pursuit.
By Denny Boyles and Marc Benjamin / The Fresno Bee
09/26/07 04:31:57

Experts in post-traumatic stress disorder said Tuesday it's possible the condition could have contributed to Cliff Finch's actions during a police chase and shootout Monday.

Finch, 58, father of Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch, remains in critical condition at Community Regional Medical Center after being shot multiple times. Tuesday, Finch's family offered more details about the days leading up to the shootout and the steps they tried to take to get him help.

"He's been as stable as a rock," Craig Finch said of his brother. "But when he broke, we knew it. We knew it was not Cliff."

Police said that regardless of Cliff Finch's state of mind, they responded the only way they could to an armed suspect who refused to stop and then fired at officers.

"Throughout this whole case, we were put in situations where we were left with little or no options," said Fresno police spokesman Jeff Cardinale. "Cliff Finch ran from officers, refused to surrender and shot first."

Craig Finch said he believes his brother did not know what he was doing when he ran from police and shot at them.

Cliff Finch has been charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer. Tuesday, Police Chief Jerry Dyer announced that officers had recovered a second loaded weapon from Finch's truck, along with a box of .223 caliber ammunition.

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