HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- The images are haunting of a man walking down busy Central Ave. Sunday in Hot Springs.
Jonathan Allen Scott who later got into a shootout with a Hot Springs Police officer is now in the hospital and his mental health is being called into question.
Scott has a lengthy criminal history spanning more than a decade. All of those charges misdemeanors. Until Sunday it doesn’t appear he was involved in a felony.
Mental health professionals say there are many people who function like this until something causes a change in behavior, and until that happens they say priority placement can be tricky.
“It is a very difficult situation,” says Pat McCabe, President and CEO of Levi Hospital in Hot Springs, which primarily serves those with behavioral health conditions.
He says in many cases it’s challenging to get a patient placed.
“When we admit patients they have to be dangerous to self, others or gravely impaired at the time,” says McCabe.
Until Sunday, that wasn’t the case with Scott.
“That’s the challenge,” says McCabe. “What is that triggering event that may have caused them to do something else that then put everybody in jeopardy.”
According to court records from a few months ago Scott was supposed to meet with Ouachita Behavioral Health and Wellness regarding inpatient treatment after one of his recent arrests, but as of May 24, 2019 they were still looking to place him for inpatient care.
It’s a situation that McCabe says needs attention. “Short term services I think we’re doing pretty good at. Long term services are an area we need to address.”
Dr. Rob Gershon, a psychologist with Ouachita Behavioral Health and Wellness, says there are not enough inpatient beds across the state of Arkansas for the growing number of patients who need this type of care.
Gershon adds that incidents like this one are more likely to happen when you have gaps in services.