Kayden Clarke received national attention when he uploaded a video last June of him suffering from what he called an Asperger's "meltdown" and being comforted by his service dog Samson. Samson used his paws to try and stop him from self-harming.
The video was shared to bring attention to Aspergers and the use of service dogs.
"This is what having Asperger's is like," [Clarke] wrote for the video's description. "This is what's considered a meltdown. Yes Samson is alerting. I trained him to alert to depressive episodes and self-harm, not both, but he alerted." – hlntv.com
Some sad news came out of Arizona this week. On Thursday, police responded to a call about Clarke and this was the result.
Arizona police shot and killed a transgender man who gained viral fame last year after uploading a video showing his service dog calming him during a meltdown.
The 24-year-old, who had Asperger’s syndrome, was legally known as Danielle Jacobs, but identified as Kayden Clarke and hoped to transition from female to male, friends told the Arizona Republic. Police were at his home Thursday morning after being alerted to a suicidal email he had sent out, according to the Associated Press.
A pair of officers tried to talk to Clarke through an open doorway as a third officer retrieved a “less-than-lethal option,” a Mesa police spokesman said Friday, according to video uploaded by the Republic. Clarke came to the door with a large kitchen knife in hand, said the spokesman, who referred to Clarke as a woman.
“[He] lunged, extending the knife towards the officers from a very close distance,” Detective Esteban Flores said. “The officers felt threatened at that point,” and so they shot [him]. Clarke was taken to a hospital but did not survive, the Republic reported.
Both officers — who reportedly also had stun guns, according to the Associated Press — are on administrative leave. At least one officer was trained in crisis intervention, which includes learning how to deal with individuals with cognitive disabilities and mental illness, Flores said.
“At this time, we express our sympathies to (Kayden’s) family and friends,” he added, referring to Clarke by his legal name. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Allen said she called police after Clarke sent a suicidal email Thursday morning, asking someone to take care of [his] dog. The dog is now under the care of Clarke’s mother, according to the New York Daily News. – news.nationalpost.com
Our thoughts are with Clarke's family.