Soldier Killed by Police Struggled with Bouts of Depression

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RAYTOWN, Mo. - He was a father, husband and son. That's the way Robert Long's family knew him.

Long, a Iraqi war veteran, was shot and killed by a Raytown police officer on Thursday, after police say he threatened them with a rifle when they arrived on scene.

It's behavior that has been seen before with someone suffering from depression, according to counselor Deanna Brauer, who doesn't know the family.

"There's acting in and acting out behaviors and a lot of people do a combination of both," Brauer said.

Long's family said he was a conflicted soldier.  They say Long had just gotten word he was headed to Afghanistan.  He had worked hard to transfer to the U.S. Air Force Navy Reserves as a corpsman, or medic, so he could make a bigger impact.  His family says in Iraq, he was mostly in transportation and restocking. But even though he was excited, his family says there were also troubled memories of his previous deployment in Iraq.  He was there for six months in 2007 and 2008.  They say his haunting memories were overwhelming and difficult to express.

Brauer says it's feelings that happen to more than just Long.

"The desire and duty to serve and obligation and so forth, but also dealing with a lot of trauma that they incur," she said.

But it's not depression Long's family remembers about him. They say it's the genuine man, with a sense of humor, musical talent and strong determination they'll not forget. They say while serving in Iraq, he worked extra hours at the military hospital, even after a full day of his normal duties. They wrote in a statement, "His selflessness and generous spirit, fun sense of humor, unending loyalty to family and friends, and of course, the love he showed for his country, made him and easy man to love."

The family is holding a private funeral for him on Wednesday.

Long was shot by police in the front yard of a home in the 9000 block of East 79th Street around 3:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. According to police, Long had been drinking all day long, and had actually been taken home from a bar by police a few hours earlier after he was kicked-out of a bar for being too drunk.

Officers were called back to the home on 79th Street after Long fired a pistol into his house. Police say that when Long's roommate returned home, he found him in the front yard with the pistol. The two men fought over the gun, but after Long gave up the pistol he got out a rifle and threatened to kill his roommate and himself.

Police say that Long was shot once because he threatened officers with the rifle after they arrived on the scene. He was taken to an area hospital where he died of his wounds a few hours later.

Police say the shooting is still an ongoing investigation.  The officer who pulled the trigger is on administrative leave, as standard procedure.

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