JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax now is learning more about the brutal stabbing near the Regency Mall AMC on Friday, hearing from the brother of the suspect, who says mental health may have played a role.
20-year-old Harun Juma now faces a felony charge of aggravated battery on LEO, firefighter, EMT, and nonsworn or licensed security officer, after police say he repeatedly stabbed the victim at the AMC Regency 24 Theatre last Friday.
Now, Action News Jax is hearing from Juma’s older brother, Fred Becerra, who says, Juma has a history of severe mental health issues, that seemed to have gotten worse in the weeks leading up to this crime.
“He was almost, I would say back to normal. And then just this past few weeks that’s when he kind of started slipping in, we started seeing the signs again,” said Becerra.
And Becerra says despite the family’s best efforts, Juma had been refusing to receive help for a while now, leaving the family feeling completely helpless.
“He told me that he hadn’t been taking his meds for maybe months now,” Becerra stated. “We just felt so helpless, not getting the help only for himself, but we don’t know what he was capable of.”
Action News Jax had the chance to speak to clinical psychologist Dr. Justin D’Arienzo on Wednesday as well, who outlined due to this complex mental health issue, just how tragic cases such as this can be for all parties involved.
Often, Dr. D’Arienzo says, it can be difficult or impossible to get a loved one help who doesn’t want it, before it’s too late.
“When somebody has a mental illness and they need to be hospitalized, they have to actually commit a crime to be hospitalized, or they have to be reporting if they want to hurt themselves or someone else,” Dr. D’Arienzo explained.
And while Becerra says he and his family hope Juma now gets the help he needs after his arrest, Becerra also said his family’s thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and their family.
“We really are praying for the victim. For him and his family, and for the tragic event that happened,” said Becerra. “Something like that, I know can be very traumatic.”
As of Wednesday evening, Juma was still being held in the Duval County Jail on a $150,003 bond and is awaiting trial.
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