Edgar Luis Tirado's Parents Say U.S. Has 'Failed' Individuals With Mental Illness Like Their Son

The parents of Edgar Luis Tirado Jr. said their son struggled with mental illness and was recently discharged from a treatment center when he was fatally shot by Dallas police Monday.

Tirado was brandishing a replica handgun, police said, that he had used in a series of robberies.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said officers thought the gun was real and that helicopter and body-camera video from the department appeared to show Tirado pointing it at officers.

His parents said the 28-year-old had bipolar disorder and that they were trying, unsuccessfully, to have him committed to a long-term mental healthcare facility. They said their son, like many others, was failed by the country's mental health treatment system.

"Our country has failed us, and it's not just my son," Edgar Tirado Sr. told the Associated Press on Friday. "This happens many, many, many times."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Police Shooting
Edgar Luis Tirado was fatally shot by police in Dallas this week. His parents to the Associated Press that their son was struggling with mental illness. In the photo, police caution tape blocks the entrance to the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 16, 2021. Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

Tirado's parents said he spent much of the last year in and out of mental health treatment centers. Susana Tirado said her son appeared before a Dallas County judge last week to request treatment but that they'd been struggling to have him committed because he was homeless and had no fixed address.

"This is our kid who was reaching out for help," said Susan Tirado, who expressed frustration over the police's portrayal of her son. She said he was "not a criminal" and "he stole like half a gallon of milk."

Late Monday afternoon, police said they received a call about a man with a gun trying to steal a woman's car. Police confronted the man, who pulled a gun but ran off without the officers firing, Garcia said.

A little while later, police said they got a call about a man robbing a CVS. When officers responded, he again ran, crossing several lanes of a busy highway. Police said the man pulled out a replica revolver and was shot by the officers. No one else was injured or killed.

Police later identified the man as Tirado and released photos of the replica gun. At a Tuesday news conference, García highlighted detailing on the gun's barrel that he said led the officers and the people robbed to believe it was real.

"Unfortunately, I don't know this individual's state of mind," García said.

Tirado was a state-ranked trumpet player at his Dallas-area high school and graduated near the top of his class, according to his family. He joined the U.S. Air Force after school and completed basic training but was later discharged for reasons his parents said were never explained to them. They said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder not long after that, at age 20, and has struggled in the years since.

"We need to have police, but they have to be better trained," Tirado Sr. said. "There have to be better ways of doing things."