GILBERT, AZ — Joshua Kinnard, a Valley veteran and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office detention officer, suffered from PTSD after serving multiple tours in Iraq and working every day in the jail.
"He joined the sheriff's office and served the community that way," said Maggie Jones, Kinnard's fiancée. "He had the most amazing sense of humor. He was always stopping to help people."
As the years went by, Kinnard was not the same person. Jones said things changed quickly in a matter of months. "A lot of the war came back with him," she said. "Basically the PTSD just continued to build and build until it ultimately took his life."
On February 26, 2018, Gilbert police were called to Kinnard's home. Jones told the officers that her fiancé was "having a meltdown" and said he needed help because it was PTSD.
Kinnard grabbed a rifle from his truck while officers were talking with Jones, and he pointed it at officers. They opened fire, shooting and killing the Marine.
"With our first responders, we actually have an epidemic. There is an epidemic of suicides," said Lauren Goldbach, who specializes in treating PTSD at her company, East Valley Trauma Counseling.
"The culture of stoicism tells you - you are tough and you can take it," said Goldbach.
Goldbach said it is crucial for veterans, officers, deputies, paramedics, and dispatchers to seek help if they are struggling or noticing symptoms. She said it is different for every person, but in addition to nightmares and flashbacks, signs of PTSD can include headaches, irritability, and even gut issues.
Jones has made PTSD awareness her mission, through the Joshua Kinnard Foundation. "We have helped veterans nationwide...[and] just to be able to know that we were able to save a life in his name, and he's helping somebody else through a difficult time dealing with PTSD, it makes this foundation completely worth it," she said.
She and Joshua were supposed to get married in November. They have a three-year-old daughter, who misses her father. But Jones does not harbor resentment towards the Gilbert officers. Instead, she wrote them letters and hopes they get help if what happened last year traumatizes them too.
"I know what [Josh] feels now, and my heart is broken for those officers. I think about them every single day wondering how they are doing," she said.
On Saturday, the Joshua Kinnard Foundation is hosting a pistol competition for law enforcement at the Usery Pass Shooting Range in Mesa. Jones said there are still a few spots left available, for current or retired law enforcement. You can sign up on their website.
There are cash prizes and the public is encouraged to attend. You can learn more about the foundation on their Facebook page.
If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, read more about the symptoms and then seek help from a licensed professional.