KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City mom’s son was shot and killed one year ago by police, but she says she finally got the news that brought her peace Thursday.
Isaac Sims was shot and killed in a police standoff on Memorial day last year. He had PTSD after serving two tours in Iraq. The Sims family says he tried to get help from the Kansas City VA but was turned away. The veteran died in the standoff a few days later.
The VA’s inspector general investigated and found the VA’s care was “inadequate.”
“We haven't really touched a lot back here because it's so morbid,” Isaac's mother Patricia said.
Patricia says she has a hard time calling her house a home because although it’s where her son Isaac Sims grew up, it's also where he took his last breath.
Officers were called to their home over Memorial day weekend to investigate reports of gunshots. The 26-year-old barricaded himself inside for hours and police say when he came outside he pointed a rifle at officers who then shot and killed him.
“It was the worst day of our lives,” Patricia says.
Isaac served in Iraq and when he got back, family says he wasn’t the Isaac they knew.
“He'd be up in one of these trees patrolling the streets and say the dogs got the perimeter,” Patricia says.
She took him to the VA and the two begged for help. She says they were told there wasn’t enough space, and they could come back in a month but according to the report they were assigned to another inpatient program.
“I kept thinking okay we can do this, we will pray our way through this," Patricia says. "We'll make it 30 days. I'll just watch him closer.”
But Patricia says the prayers didn’t work. Two days later her son was gone, shot and killed in their garage.
“It's emotional," she says. "You know, it takes my breath away.”
Patricia says she hasn’t felt peace until an investigation by the Inspector General found aspects of Isaac’s care by the VA were inadequate. In particular, the investigation found that some requests for outpatient consultations were canceled or discontinued. The VA sent out a statement saying they realize aspects of Isaac’s care could’ve been handled differently and it will make changes going forward.
“I'm so excited, this is the happiest day I've had out of it all,” she says.
Patricia isn’t sure if help from the VA would’ve saved her son but she hopes his death brought awareness and hopes other soldiers returning from war can get the prompt treatment they have so honorably earned.
“He didn't die in vain," she says. "He has a purpose now. He has a platform we can stand on and be proud of.”
The VA says since the investigation, it has made some changes, including additional training to staff to ensure guidelines and policy are followed. The VA says it is developing new procedures for consulting with vets and how they manage clinic appointments.