The family of a man shot and killed by a Wagoner County deputy on January 16 said they have spent nearly a decade trying to get him help. The family said he struggled with his mental illness.
“I lost my son but I want to save somebody else’s son that may be mentally ill. The state of Oklahoma needs to start addressing mental illness issues," said the suspect's mom, Angie Griffin.
The family said when Steffon Griffin was on his medication, he was great. However, when he was off his medication, he had violent outbursts and could be dangerous, which was the case in this circumstance.
Steffon’s mom said she tried multiple times to get her son help.
She said she even filed five protective orders against him, knowing he would violate them and hoping he would be taken into custody.
She believes his death could have been avoided if her son could have been placed in a long-term mental hospital.
“He did have a knife and I do not fault the officers for shooting him, because I honestly do feel they were probably defending themselves,” said Angie.
Angie Griffin said while she’s dealing with the pain of losing her son, she knows he could be dangerous.
She wishes something could have been done to help him, before it was too late.
“Numerous reports have been made, trying to get this kid help and no one would do anything. I went to the judge, I went to the DA on four different occasions, I went to the sheriff's office six to ten times,” said Angie.
Deputies said Steffon Griffin was in the street with a knife yesterday in the Toppers area, causing a disturbance.
He had a warrant for violating a protective order.
When they tried to take him into custody, they said he attacked the deputies and during the fight, a deputy shot and killed Steffon.
The sheriff's office said both deputies were injured during the fight.
“We need mental health care in this state. Something needs to be done. Because this is going to keep on happening, keep on happening, keep on happening and it’s not right,” said Angie.
The sheriff’s office said dealing with people who are mentally ill can be tough.
They said they cannot just take someone into custody for being mentally ill. They said there is a strict criteria they have to follow.
The sheriff’s office said both injured deputies are at home recovering.
The deputy who fired the shots is currently on paid leave while the shooting is investigated.