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'My child is gone': Mother of man accused of attacking Lizella woman has questions after fatal shooting

She says he struggled with mental illness, but never had an incident like this.

MACON, Ga. — A mother wants people to talk more about mental health after her son was shot and killed in Lizella. He allegedly attacked an elderly woman Thursday night during an apparent mental health crisis.

"You’re not supposed to bury your children, they’re supposed to bury you,” said Tasha McElhenney.

She says saw her 25-year-old son, Tyler, hours before he was shot. He was naked when he allegedly attacked a 67-year-old woman who was mowing her lawn.

His mother still isn’t sure what happened.

"That he attacked... the neighbor came over there, somebody put somebody in a chokehold. I’m not sure. The husband went back to the house, got a gun and shot him," said McElhenney.

She says Tyler struggled with mental illness, but never had an incident like this.

"He was going to River Edge on Emery Highway and he had to see the doctor periodically. They gave him his medicine the last time I took him down there," she explained.

His mother says he had no connection to the neighborhood where he allegedly attacked the woman.

"I do hope they’re okay, but I’m his mom... my child is gone. My child is not coming back," she said.

Bruce Conn, a therapist at Piedmont Macon, says people with mental illnesses are no more violent than those who don’t have one.

“There’s no more increase in violence in mental health patients. It's more related to sort of cultural norms and just substance abuse issues, but not specific to mental health," said Conn.

"Mental health -- people need to realize if you see anybody, any of your family members that are in distress or they’re not acting right, get them to a doctor. Don’t let them sit there," said McElhenney.

She says despite what social media says, her son was not on drugs and she actively made sure he took his medication.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office says the incident is still under investigation.

Conn says some mental illnesses are more severe than others and if you see someone behaving erratically, it may be a sign to get them to their healthcare provider.

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