A 33-year-old man whose alleged erratic, combative behavior led to his arrest in Rancho Santa Fe is an Army veteran of Iraq suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues, his mother told a San Diego television station.
"He's really not a criminal," Andrea Roper told KUSI-TV. "He's sick .... He needs help."
Roper's son, Joshua Harrington, was arrested after midnight Friday on suspicion of crashing two cars, assaulting a good Samaritan, and then climbing up on the roof of a home in Rancho Santa Fe.
"He thinks somebody planted a chip in his brain," Roper told reporter Sasha Foo. "He thinks everybody is out to get him."
Harrington, injured in the two vehicle crashes, was taken to a hospital. He faces possible charges of carjacking, assault and driving under the influence, officials said.
Harrington was lowered from the roof while strapped to a backboard and in handcuffs. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol, and fire departments of Encinitas and Rancho Santa Fe had been called to the scene.
Roper said her son has sought treatment at the Veterans Affairs hospital and Naval Medical Center San Diego. But he has stopped going to therapy appointments and taking his medication, she said.
Harrington enlisted in the Army in 2001 at age 19, was trained as a medic, and served several tours in Iraq, his mother said. For five years he has sought care at the VA and has been hospitalized in the mental ward, she said.
"As time has progressed, he has become less and less functional," Roper said in the KUSI interview.