Police say woman killed in officer-involved shooting had handgun


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Submitted: Tue, 01/28/2014 - 8:37pm
Updated: Wed, 01/29/2014 - 2:14am
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A 21-year-old woman is dead after police responded to a domestic dispute in Wilmington overnight.

When officers arrived at 700 block of Tabor Lane around 1 a.m. they say Grace Louise Denk was sitting in her car with a handgun.

Denk’s ex-boyfriend called 911 saying she’d been drinking and they’d gotten into a fight. He says she stormed out and drove off, and when she started threatening to commit suicide, he called police.

“It’s my ex-girlfriend now,” he told an operator. “She ran out of the house. I think she’s going to kill herself.”

Witnesses say after they heard officers screaming at Denk to put her hands up one broke her back window and fired. Records show officers were on the scene for two minutes before that.

Denk was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Two officers involved are paid leave. The SBI is investigating.

90 Comments

  • Rtshaw says:

    She had a gun and pointed it at the officers thus the response for deadly force. You people are so quick to judge the officers during the execution of their duties yet none of you know what it’s like. Learn all the facts and wait for the report before you start making your stupid comments and remarks. Get off your high horses and jump off the bandwagon.

  • Ed Earl says:

    I hate that anyone has to die, but some people bring death to their own door! I hope the Police are truly justified in this shooting, meaning the woman had a gun! If not, then the Officer should face prosecution…

  • Marissa says:

    I believe the police were at fault once again. To be called to a scene to merely help calm the situation and this is what happens. No matter what type of weapon this woman had, there is simply no excuse. To calm a mentally disrupted person you have to talk to them first not just go ahead and make the decision to shoot them. This was a 22 year old female and the multiple male cops who were called to the scene couldn’t handle the situation without having to end a life!? None the less to say 2-3 shots were fired within standing range. What is wrong with Wilmington police. Shame on you all for killing the lives of not only one, but now several young people in the surrounding area.

  • NA says:

    And you wonder why people don’t rely on cops or trust them,shmm.

  • pawsalt says:

    Sounds like you should be a cop since you can do the job better. I bet you could make a big difference in the community. I mean how long should the cops wait to calm the situation down. What if while you are calming her down she kills you or someone else. Yeah great plan you got. Sometimes action must be taken to perserve the life of others.

  • JM says:

    I am really sad that a 21 year old had to lose her life over what appeared to be an altercation with a former boyfriend. The girl was obviously distraught and would imagine under normal circumstances would not have wanted to harm anyone. I feel bad for her family.

  • Mrs.B says:

    I would like to ask, what do you mean by the police are at fault “once again”? What other recent cases have led you to make this comment? I am unaware of any cases that the police have not been found to have acted responsibly, with the exception of Officer Brister and his partner Kass. In that scenario, they were shown to have acted professionally and then afterwards drug though the mud to make them look like villains. Brunswick law enforcement is a separate issue. I want you to tell us, who in the WPD or NHCSO have been at fault for any deaths or misuse of force.

  • Tired says:

    Way to go WPD, you have eliminated another thug off the streets….right Wilmington? It’s ok for them to shoot and kill black males, but since it is a female involved in a “nice” area they are wrong?? This city is twisted.

  • guest12 says:

    Sounds like another case of SUICIDE BY COP just like the Boiling Springs Lake young man. He was also threatening suicide. Chicken way when you can’t do it yourself and ruin other peoples lives. Tell you what lets do away with all police officers in Wilmington and find out what happens in this wonderful safe drug infested city.

  • New definition for the word investigation

    Investigation: A period of time where law enforcement, SBI, FBI, chief’s of police, deputies, etc., get together and come up with a good story so that all are in sync with one another, and all parties agree with all parts of the story so that any one of them is not caught lying.

  • sam i am says:

    does that mean she gets to go to heaven thanks to that policeman?

  • Donovan says:

    Great comment, shepard.

  • Donovan says:

    It seems to me you are implying that police get together and get their stories straight so they can support each others lies. Just like crooks.

    Am I correct in that inference, sir?

  • deputy25 says:

    if i were the police chief, i would arm all the men i could with shoulder cams with voice and sound. then no body would have any doubt as to what took place and what was said. then the ones on here that were not there would not be choosing sides so darn quick. what if she was armed, are they suppose to let them kill them or someone else??? what if she started the car and drove toward them without a place to retreat?? so many questions but if she fired at them, i say IF, then the ones on here are going to go hide. if the are wrong, then the officers should be held to same standards as any other person that broke the law!!

  • Guest2020 says:

    Where has it been stated that she was shot from behind? There is another media outlet that says that she was shot in the chest.

  • guest111 says:

    The woman could have had a gun in her lap or the other seat or the glove box. The issue here is did she point the gun at an officer? She was shot from behind so I assume she was turned around in her seat aiming the weapon? right?

  • guest111 says:

    So you were there and saw her pointing the gun at officers? Why weren’t you quoted in the story about your eyewitness account? Hmm?

  • guest111 says:

    I think you are a bit out of line. Think about what you wrote. It’s way to harsh.

  • Deputy 25 says:

    First of all you are wrong. There is no such thing as a concealed. weapons permit
    it is concealed HANDGUN permit!! She is in violation of the rules if she was intoxicated while in possession of the handgun which is then illegal! By the way we are tired of dealing with stupid citizens like you. I don’t eat doughnuts. I stay in shape probably way better than the punky brain damaged druggies bleeding heart libtards I deal with every day.love us when you need us hate us when you don’t! !!!

  • Slender Man says:

    My friends friends friend was there, she had a gun and was waving it carelessly waving it at people so they called the cops, she was in her car with the gun when the cops rolled up. They shot her multiple times, she died within a matter of seconds.

  • guest111 says:

    I haven’t read or heard one word that showed cause for a policeman to shoot her. Broke out a back window? Sounds like she was shot from behind. Did she have a gun pointed at a law enforcement officer? Sounds like she needed someone to care about her and talk to her. I don’t usually go against an officer’s decision but I do this time.

  • Guest350 says:

    Cops know when they choose law enforcement as a career that they will face danger from time to time. If any officer has the mindset that he must go ahead and kill a human being just because he wants to eliminate any threat to himself, even though very small, he needs to find another line of work.

  • Eve Johnson says:

    I am not from this area, but am completely outraged and sickened by the responses/comments from ‘deputy25′ regarding the poor girl who lost her life due to happy trigger fingers. I can say I’ll be forever grateful that I don’t live in that area and have to rely on jerks like this ‘deputy’ to assist me when in danger or in any situation that may arise. My son is a Sargent and I know he never would speak to anyone the way ‘deputy25′ has in his/her responses!! I guess it shows ‘deputy25”s mentality by the way he replies to people. I pray he never goes back on duty because I would never want someone that ignorant to defend me in ANY situation whatsoever!!

  • k says:

    People can’t just assume it was the police’s fault. Maybe the domestic violence call was made AGAINST the female. Maybe she was the perpetrator, and maybe the police had reasonable cause to shoot at her. You can’t make accusations and assumptions when you were not present during the situation and when you don’t know the reality of what occurred. Our law enforcement officials have a very dangerous job, and they bravely protect our streets everyday. They deserve way more respect than what they receive.

  • guest111 says:

    You weren’t there, either. All any of us have is the story printed here and there isn’t one ounce of cause to shoot this woman from behind. That’s the concern. So, what do you know that no one else knows? You weren’t there, right?

  • Charles Walters says:

    I am amazed that when someone is killed by the police it is automatically their fault. Granted there are some officers who are out of control, but not all of them. I would hazzard a guess that all those who are blaming the police for this woman’s death are criminals themselves.

  • guest111 says:

    This is not a racially motivated shooting. Would you people please find something else to belly ache about? Damn

  • guest111 says:

    Absolutely no where is it stated as fact that she pointed the gun at officers. Exactly where were you standing and why were you there in the first place?

  • deputy25 says:

    go back to your little job.im waaaaaayyyy past that salary. retired , still sworn, and make very well in my private sector job. go back to wal mart and shovel the snow/ice today.

  • Deputy25 says:

    MARISSA. what the heck planet you live on!! She has a gun. That gun doesn’t discriminate. You can’t talk to people who don’t listen. We are cops first. Not mental health workers , our pay would be better. Get off that dream tower you are in and go to your local police agency and tell them you want to help by talking to unrational mental disturbed upset people and take away their weapons so the cops can go and arrest her and carry her to the hospital!!!! You obviously watch toooooo much t.v. question. What if they just stood by felt sorry for her and she shot and killed the officers? ?? Answer that Ms PHD.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Before you go degrading someone for their education, you should learn to spell or at least learn to use spell check. Or maybe it’s just a vocabulary lesson you need. Actually, I think you need both.

    Nobody cares what your salary is. Police officers know going into their jobs that they aren’t going to get rich off of a policeman’s salary. And I don’t see the likes of you going out and doing what policeman do and putting up with what they do. I don’t see you with your “10 times a year” salary having to put on a bulletproof vest when you get dressed for work in the hopes that it will help to get you home to your family at the end of the day. I don’t see you with your “10 times a year” salary, giving up your holidays and weekends to go out and put up with cretins like yourself. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what police officers deal with in their line of work. They are underpaid and under appreciated.

  • CoastalJade says:

    Do you talk before, during, and after she has already killed an officer or innocent bystanders?
    Seriously…IF this woman had a gun and was waving it around, then she was a threat.
    Waiting for her to kill someone while she showed she was a clear threat is ludicrous.
    I am saying this only if she was armed.
    I guess you think an officers life is worthless and the criminal should live? Or innocent people on the streets?
    IF this is what happened, her having a gun… she lost her life for that reason. How would you expect a different outcome than what happened? And as sad as it is that she is dead…. our police are still alive and innocent citizens.

    Not all police are crooked.

  • b.p.needam says:

    You, are a moron. Unregistered backup? A Throw down? Go back to playing with glue an macaroni art as that is your only future.

  • Guest123123 says:

    This dept and all others in the surrounding area really need to get some proper training in how to retreat sometimes when there is no immediate danger to the officers. There are people trained to handle these type of situations I would think other than officers going to some 8 hour class where they just sit around and tell war stories. You do not become a police officer to just protect yourself and have blanket immunity to shoot at all costs. Does WPD have anything close to a hostage negotiator? Even though there was no hostage some body might have been able to talk this person into surrendering. Those guys are the real heroes. They take very dangerous situations and turn them into positive outcomes.

  • Leroy says:

    I will handle my own business, Unless I want them shot.Then I will call the police.

  • Shawna says:

    ALL OF YOU MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS. This is my friend that died, and she had her issues. I am sure you all have your opinion of what could have been done different, or its her fault for pointing the gun, or she fired first. OH, you weren’t there? Then shut the hell up. It is still the death of a friend, daughter, and ex-marine.

  • Amber says:

    I honestly would be afraid to call the police for most anything in this city

  • I Am Who You Say I Am says:

    I am in possession of reliable information that the young woman had a concealed weapons permit, and the firearm in question was perfectly legal. I question why the police are taking their sweet, doughnut eating time to disclose all the facts to the public. It would appear that they are making sure to cover their fat behinds by creating an air tight crime scene story.

  • B Morgan says:

    Great comment??? Sheeple???

    It is the duty of every single American to question those who are in authority, especially the civilian police! To lash out with hyperbole, making broad assumptions, ascertaining that making the statement, “taking another human life is trajic”, defending those who may have killed unjustly, is even more trajic.

    The police do not have ultimate authority, and do not have the right to kill. They have the right to defend themselves just like any other regular citizen. I am not law enforcement, and I (am supposed to) have the same exact rights to use a weapon to defend myself as any police officer.. Law Enforcement Officials have dangerous jobs, but we all live with the threat of someone chosing to asail our rights and potentially cause us harm.

    I always carry a firearm, and if someone were to tell me that their recent ex had a weapon, and was contemplating taking their life, I might choose to intervene in hopes of preventing her from killing herself. Then while doing so she took the weapon and literally pointed it at me in a threatening manner, I might be forced to defend myself with my firearm.

    Unfortunately, Law Enforcement is (in most cases) trained to shoot under different rules of engagement. They are trained to shoot if an armed individual (as was the case here) refuses to follow their commands, they may use their weapon in self defense. Note: Notice how I didn’t say, “If they are threatened, or perceve to be threatened”? That’s the difference, and there should not be one…

  • Southernmomma says:

    I am very disappointed in our police department,I think they need more education in domestic violence and mental illness.I will have to praise the sheriff department because they do know how to handle these situations.My family has had this experience with the sheriff department and they were very understanding and did an excellent job handling the situation.

  • I Am Who You Say I Am says:

    Crawl back under your camper in Castle Hayne and shut up!

  • I Am Who You Say I Am says:

    Wow deputy, you went to Ewe NC. I’m not surprised since a recent survey of academic advisers confirmed that Ewe NC athletes on average have a 3rd Grade Reading Level !!! I doubt wannabe cops can even read! Glad to hear that you are gainfully employed as a rent-a-cop at Kmart. Thanks for the invite to you little self defense class, but I must decline for both insurance and national security restrictions!

  • deputy25 says:

    GREAT COMMENT!! love it!

  • deputy25 says:

    dont forget to add that she had a gun and she was indulging in alcohol. gunpowder and alcohol dont mix!! im sure crooks dont get together and get their stories together either do they??

  • These post make me laugh says:

    Where do you get this stuff? Your idiotic thought that officers carry a “throw down” weapon is completely ridiculous. I’m sure your law enforcement expertise comes from watching movies like Lethal Weapon and Training Day. Here is an idea. If you have no idea what you are talking about, don’t post anything. It makes you sound like an idiot.

  • Chuck s says:

    When the police start policing their own and putting a few in jail for abusing their office then the people might not assume that every shooting is a jacked up cop getting his rocks off. Its hard to believe police spokesmen are telling the truth when they so often circle the wagons to protect their own in questionable situations.

  • GuestMe says:

    Since you are an expert in mental health, please offer your services. You can talk down the crazy, gun waving woman while the police sit at a safe distance. Why does it matter that they were men (actually, how do you know they were all men?) and she was female is irrelevant. What, women can’t shoot cops just as easily as a man? If talking someone down is all that is needed, why did you call the cops in the first place. Go ahead, Marissa, talk her down yourself.

  • deputy25 says:

    then dont ever call for anything then you can handle it all buy yourself. someone breaking into your home while you are there or not, you investigate it. someone busting you over the head with a bat or shooting at you with a gun, you take care of yourself. that will give us more time to eat doughnuts than have to respond to peoples poor choices in civil domestic disputes in their lives that they seem to want everybody else in law enforcement to handle. you deal with it!!

  • SammyDavidjr says:

    The other story said she was suicidal.
    I’m glad the police were able top prevent that.

  • Chuck S says:

    I remember when they started releasing window camera videos and the multitude of police abuse cases showed up.

  • deputy25 says:

    first of all, i attended UNC. 2nd of all after 25 years, retired, i teach and now in private protective service and still maintain a deputy status as sworn. after i started at 21 years of age. i dont eat jelly doughnuts and never ever went to cape fear moron. i doubt you earn 10 times my salary, that would put your poor self at 1.7 million a year. yes i have defended myself for over 25 years against smart mouths that think they know everything. like i said it is a concealed handgun class, not weapons class. and besides that you started bragging about your money you make. never seen a man on his death bed ask how much he had in the back! very conservative myself. but you get on here like you know all what happened. you never had to fight deal with stupid citizens like yourself. go get a badge and gun, it’s not all about money or free doughnuts i dont eat. by the way, stop by my martial arts class and sign up and come help fight crime!!!

  • tke1 says:

    How many domestic incidents has the WPD handled that you are totally ignorant of? The suspect with the gun determines how the scene is played out. The cops can only try to steer the action to a peaceful conclusion with the cooperation of the suspect who is probably impaired and not happy to see the cops to begin with. The cops, unfortunately, do not have the option of waiting to see if the person wielding the gun will actually shoot or not, especially if they want to go home at the end of shift.
    If you have not personally been it this life or death situation, other than to watch it on mainstream media television garbage, you need to keep your mouth shut until you learn all the facts.

  • lonetraveler says:

    No where in this article do I read that she pointed the gun at the officers. It reads that she was told to put her hands up to reading that one officer broke the back glass and shot her. Now people are commenting that she pointed the gun at them? Some are taking the liberty of “filling in the blanks”.

    Hopefully a comprehensive report will be issued that will reveal the full story, only you have to remember that one of the party will not be telling their story.

    Need to know more at this time.

  • tke1 says:

    You are so full of knowledge of how to handle an armed disturbed subject, why aren’t you on the PD/SO taking care of business. Everyone who has never been in this type of situation knows better than the cops how to handle it. Unfortunately, cops do not always have the option to stop the action and have a loving, understanding chat with the person holding the gun. The person with the gun defines how the situation is played out.
    Of course cops are expendable so they can just go ahead and allow anyone to shoot at them without any response.

  • jen says:

    I agree 100%!!!

  • Off The Cuff says:

    You have never been on the end of a gun being pointed at you…..so don’t judge. You can’t wait until they pull the trigger, as that is a weeeeeeeeeee bit toooooooooo late! If she hadn’t pointed the gun at them then she would still be here. Doesn’t matter if 100 cops are there, if someone points a gun at the police they are justified in protecting themselves and I don’t blame them one bit.

    Been there on the gun being pointed at me end and lived to tell the tale and was dang lucky, so I know of what I speak.

  • Guest1851658 says:

    If they knew she had a gun, seems like they could have approached her vehicle from the rear and tried a little harder for a more favorable outcome. Most or all cops carry an unregistered backup weapon. In cases like this if an officer gets a little overzealous and kills someone, the backup or “throw down” weapon could come into play. But, not really enough info yet. However, it does seem the trend these days is to go ahead and kill the suspect instead of trying to work things out.

  • terrysimmons says:

    Everyone commenting on here like they were there and know every intricate detail are nothing but sheep! How about this…dont call the police when you need help, call a crack head or a criminal to come help your sorry asses! Im sure they wouldnt mind not responding to your house because your having a domestic spat with your baby daddy. It seems that the criminals have more rights than the police do. Would you all be outraged if this woman shot the cop? Probably not, but you want to bitch and complain about something you have no idea about what happened. You also depend on the facts from this libtard media website that is probably leaving out details to meet their evil liberal agenda. just walk around saying baaaaaaaaaaaa…sheeple!

  • sam i am says:

    you have hit on the biggest issue i have with this, and the murder of the 90 lb boy in boiling springs, killing.
    it seems to me that in both cases more experienced or better trained people may have been able to get these situations under control without killing anyone.
    i, for one, am anxiously awaiting the official reports of investigations into both of these law enforcement killings. it seems from these comment boards that others are paying attention, too.
    i’m not highly educated, nor an expert in anything, but it seems to me that the general public trust in law enforcement could use some help; and that if there are trigger happy officers, and complicit superiors, out there that they could be a huge financial liability to the districts that they represent. a thorough investigation of both killings with full disclosure of the investigators and their findings may go a long way to helping both of these problems, or costing their employers (the public) a hell of a lot of money.
    i am very grateful for and supportive of the job good police do. i think an officer has every right to defend themselves when threatened.
    we need those investigative results, and the sooner the better.

  • Stone Tyler says:

    That’s the kind of attitude that drives cops to escalate a situation instead of defuse it. Keep killing, tough guy. Karma’s a bitch.

  • seriously says:

    Where do you come off with these “Drop weapons” that all cops carry? I served 10 years as a Law Enforcement Officer before returning to full time active duty Military and never in my training was keeping a trusty “unregistered drop gun” taught to me….

  • what says:

    I’m with k don’t assume anything you weren’t there!the police have a very hard job i’m thankful for them and sorry for the girl and her family.

  • I Am Who You Say I Am says:

    Deputy, how dare you demean me as a liberal and a stupid citizen!!! You and your little GED, and Cape fear Tech education…WOW! I am a compassionate conservative on ALL issues, and am sure that I earn over 10 times a year over your county salary. I don’t need power grubbing leaches like yourself. I am more than prepared to defend myself in ANY given situation! I’ve seen way too many lying, crooked cops to see that it is no longer an honorable profession. So, go ahead and have yourself ANOTHER jelly doughnut…I’m sure Krispy Kreme picks up the tab!

  • RSL. says:

    Not sure. But this could be a Suicide by Police incident. There is no easy incident for the Police Who faces anyone who wants to be killed by the police.

  • Guest19855 says:

    well you are right the Sheriff’s OFFICE handles things better because of the level of profesionalism , but they both receive the same training with Mental Illness and Domestic Violence . The lady had a gun and so obviously the officers felt their lives were in danger. So good job WPD for continuing to keep the streets safe.

  • WANT TO KNOW says:

    I wish the WPD would hurry and tell a little more info so all these livingroom lawyers will stop telling us what they would do and how this is all wrong. I am pretty sure that none of you were there and therefor have no clue to what happened.

  • Major Giles says:

    I think that is great for you, handle your business like good honest citizens should and there will be no need to ever call for assistance. By doing that, you can and will get “one day” put the cops out of a job.

    But until then your stuck.

  • Guest123123 says:

    Never loved you and never will. Go back to your 33000 a yr job its all you got.

  • Guest123123 says:

    I would be more than willing to give it a try.

  • Guest123123 says:

    Judge Jury and the Grim Reaper all in one. I am so sick of these guys. I would never call them for anything that requires an investigation or using their brains to solve the problem.

  • Guest2020 says:

    I, for one, will reserve judgment until more details are reported.

  • Jeri Simpson says:

    It appears that the police have a license to kill, rather than protect.

  • martha stewart says:

    What threat, they should have got u…. Lol

  • Slender Man says:

    Im so proud of my town, the police eliminated the threat, now I feel safe!!

  • Terry faulk says:

    With the sbi so busy with all the other cases it looks like a full month off with payif you took all of the officers in dc phill and NYC I’d bet brunswick and new Hanover would top them in shots fired in the last 6 months.

  • waaaah says:

    If the police at fault , they’ll keep us lost about the truth smh

  • Off The Cuff says:

    I would bet she had a weapon and either threatened the officers with it. However, I wasn’t there and I surely don’t know, but it isn’t the usual way to shoot someone just for sitting in the car.

  • resident says:

    Why were shots fired?????

  • LaTonya says:

    I’m still unclear of WHY shots were fired??
    I know it WAS a domestic violence but ….. I’m lost
    again dang

  • waaaah says:

    Sickening smh

  • deputy25 says:

    uhh, the car she was sitting in is considered a deadly weapon. May have tried to drive over them?? just saying. dont know that for sure cant say.

  • Dustin says:

    So why was she shot? If she had a weapon, then what kind? A gun? A knife? This matters. Why was such excessive force usedon this woman? We will more than likely not hear about these details.

  • lisa says:

    Im sure the police will get away with this TOO!!!

  • Polymath says:

    Do not call the Police/Sheriff’s office. Bottom line you are dealing w/ below par individuals who lack any real education. This incident is a tragedy. Too often we are hearing about these inept individuals being investigated. Look what they did to poor Keith Vidal only a few weeks ago and now this? Train these trigger-happy morons. Enough is enough!

  • Polymath says:

    yeah, pray they lose their jobs…I will pray to that!

  • kayla says:

    The Wilmington Police are out of control. They are jus killing people. It starts with the Police Chief. So now every situation is shot to kill. How did a young woman loose her life after it was called in as a domestic violence call. Then the officers are on paid leave…wow so kill someone & still get rewarded I pray that God will let the truth come out because so many cases have been covered up to justify the police & there actions. My prayers for the young woman family during this time. They didn’t have to kill her

  • deputy25 says:

    were you there??? then you dont know yet. prayers for the officers too!!!!!

  • deputy25 says:

    think about it. she was sitting in a car. if she had the keys , then that car could be a deadly weapon!!!!

  • Tim says:

    It’s terrible this young girl died. Whether she pointed/fired gun at police, I DON’T KNOW. Just sad that someone had to die so young. Were the police officers doing their job? I DON’T KNOW. But if this young girl pointed/fired this gun at police officers THEN and only then were these police officers justified in the shooting. It’s rather simple. When police say let me see your hands, drop your hands weapon or my favorite one Freeze! and you Don’t comply GUESS WHAT??? YOU MIGHT GET SHOT. WITH REAL BULLETS Just sayin.

  • Wondering says:

    A Southport cop just got charged with voluntary manslaughter for killing a mentally ill kid in front of his parents not long ago. Have cops in the Southport / Wilmington area been politically or otherwise motivated to kill within 2 minutes or there abouts when answering domestic mental health disputes, (or something similar)? What’s up with the cops in NC and killing the mentally ill when called for help?

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