Farmville, VA - The family of a former Farmville police officer accused of firing at deputies over the weekend, is now speaking out. They say T.J. Long was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Long's half-brother Josh Davis said T.J. Long was one of the first Farmville police officers to respond to a quadruple homicide back in 2009. The murderer was later identified as Samuel McCroskey, otherwise known as "psycho Sam."
Davis says ever since Long came upon that crime scene, he has not been the same.
"He could actually smell the bodies inside. They'd been there a couple days I think," Davis said.
Josh Davis says his half-brother didn't talk about that horrific crime scene, or the 20 hours they say he spent with those decomposing bodies, but they could tell that Long had begun to change.
"He would tell me that he couldn't sleep. He had nightmares. He couldn't eat. He lost a lot of weight," Davis said.
TJ Long's family says he was too proud to seek help, and in 2011 his personal life began to unravel.
Long was fired from the Farmville Police Department after a domestic dispute. He got a DUI, and this past weekend Long allegedly fired several rounds at law enforcement officers.
"He told his friend and my dad that he did not want to hurt the police officers. He was actually shooting up in the trees so they would leave him alone," Davis said.
Long's family says T.J. was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder two years and two months after the so-called "horrorcore" murders, the incident they believe triggered the illness. Unfortunately, they say it was two months too late to get covered under workman's compensation.
"When you're having to pay a $30 co-pay and you just lost your job, it's hard to see a counselor or a psychiatrist or someone to help you work through the problems that you're developing," Davis said Tuesday.
TJ's family doesn't want to make excuses for his behavior, but say he's one example of someone with mental health problems falling through the cracks.
Still, Josh Davis thinks the best possible scenario played out. No deputies were injured and his brother walked away with his life.
"I went home prepared to be with my nephews and them having lost their father and that didn't happen," Davis said.