BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) — Authorities are investigating how an Alabama man committed to mental institutions twice in recent years was able to obtain a gun he used to kill a deputy and wound another during a shootout, despite laws that would have barred him from owning a firearm.
Probate records show Michael Jansen had most recently been committed in 2010 and was released that July. In both cases his mother sought his committal, once after he cut himself so badly with a straight razor he required 88 stitches and 37 staples to close wounds in his neck and arms.
Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell said records from January 2010 show Jansen had a history of mental health issues including bipolar disorder; manic episodes; and dependency on both alcohol and marijuana. A discharge letter from an area hospital showed Jansen had been treated and was improved enough to be released, he said.
Baldwin County Sheriff's officials say Jansen killed Deputy Scott Ward and wounded Deputy Curtis Summerlin on Friday afternoon before the officers returned fire and killed Jansen. A third deputy was unhurt.
The man's mother had called for medical help because Jansen was distraught, and medics called for backup when they could not subdue Jansen. The three deputies talked to the man for some time inside his mobile home in south Alabama's rural Fairhope before the shooting.
"When they were talking to him inside, his weapon was invisible," said Lt. Judson Beedy, an investigator assigned to the case. Jansen started shooting at the deputies at close range, Beedy said.