News Article Details

Morris had mental health history prior to shooting

Times Record - 12/17/2018

Dec. 17--Samuel Morris had a mental health history including involuntary commitment before Fort Smith police shot and killed him.

Morris, 27, died on Oct. 13 after an unidentified officer shot him multiple times when he refused to drop a knife after officers tried to disarm him in an apartment at Allied Gardens Estate. Sebastian County officials in May fulfilled a request for Morris' involuntary admission to a state hospital or appropriate treatment center after police responded to an incident with his mother, according to records.

Morris on May 6 reportedly screamed and yelled at his mother and wouldn't leave after she asked him to. Police responded to the incident and arrested him on two confirmed misdemeanor warrants, according to the incident report.

Morris' mother in a petition for her son's involuntary commitment filed May 7 stated he was "very violent," was "threatening suicide and threatening to hurt and kill others" and had mood swings and depression. It also stated he broke items at home, fought with her, was taking street drugs and was a danger to himself and others.

A probate judge on May 8 signed an order for Morris' detention, which ordered officials to take him into custody, have him examined by a licensed physician and have the results presented that afternoon. The same judge signed an order for Morris' order for involuntary admission to an Arkansas state hospital or appropriate treatment center for up to 45 days.

An Allied Gardens resident after the shooting told police Morris and two others spent the night with her and that Morris got into fights with all of them before the incident. She said Morris stabbed her in the neck and upper chest area, according to the incident report. Eight gunshots are heard after a man and woman order Morris to let a woman go in an audio recording of the incident.

Police spokesperson Aric Mitchell in November said the Police Department is in charge of the criminal investigation into the incident. Sebastian County prosecutor Dan Shue could not be reached for comment about if Morris' involuntary commitment would factor into the investigation.

The Times Record after the shooting submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for all video surveillance and audio of the incident. Police Cpl. Anthony Rice said officials cannot complete the request amid the investigation.

Mitchell in November said police will not release the officer's name amid the investigation and on Friday declined to comment on Morris' involuntary commitment or the investigation.

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(c)2018 Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.)

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