TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An attack on two Tampa Bay-area deputies is shedding light on what some are calling a systemic problem.
The mother of the man accused of crashing into those deputies said she was trying to find help for him.
Now 8 On Your Side is taking a deeper look into the days that led up to the tragedy and why nothing was done earlier.
28-year-old Ralph Bouzy, the man accused of trying to kill those two deputies last week, skipped court again Wednesday as his mental health takes center stage in his case.
New court documents reveal his diagnosis as schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.
It’s a blend of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
“When we say psychotic disorder, we mean problems with thinking, so this might include disorganized or jumbled thoughts, hearing voices, seeing things that aren’t there,” USF College of Medicine Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences Division Chief Dr. Ryan Wagoner said. “Bipolar Disorder is a type of mood disorder, including manic episodes where you have elevated energy, decreased need for sleep as well as increased activities and increased risk taking.”
Bouzy faces three charges of attempted first-degree murder on a law enforcement officer with a weapon.
A new affidavit outlined another battery charge, sharing new details on the moments that lead up to a near-death experience for both deputies.
The document describes how Bouzy broke down someone’s door after previously threatening to break his or her neck, just moments before Bouzy’s mother called 911 in fear for her life.
Crisis Center of Tampa Bay CEO Clara Reynolds said Bouzy’s mother seemed to do everything right.
“For the times though when situations like this happen, the system is very much struggling,” she said.
According to court documents, Bouzy’s mother called a mobile crisis response team that came out to their home just days before the incident.
She also filed two separate petitions to have Bouzy Baker Acted that week.
Both were denied by the court.
“The Florida legislature is looking very closely in this to figure out, how can we rewrite the current statutes to again, protect people’s liberty,” Reynolds said.
It’s a systemic issue she said all comes down to freedom.
“That’s what we’re really talking about,” she said. “We’re talking about taking someone and involuntarily committing them, we have to be very thoughtful about their civil liberties and also balance the safety of the community.”
Bouzy now faces two more felony charges for battery on a law enforcement officer after deputies said he hit a deputy in the neck and a sergeant in the face while in jail.
Court documents said the incident was caught on camera, but the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office declined to release the footage, saying it is part of an active investigation and exempt from public release.
Bouzy’s mother was not available for comment.
The Public Defender’s Office declined to comment due to the active litigation.
An order was filed in court Wednesday to get Bouzy and competency evaluation and psychiatric evaluation to see if he can be sentenced and stand trial.
His arraignment is scheduled for Monday.