Family of Gwinnett County man killed by police to file lawsuit against healthcare companies

Darryl Fussell II was shot and killed in April.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 8:43 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2023 at 11:02 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The family of a Gwinnett County man who was shot and killed during an altercation with police in April said they intend to sue the healthcare companies that were reportedly in charge of his medical care.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Riverdale police responded to a call about two men trespassing inside a medical office that was being renovated on River Park Drive. When officers arrived, they learned that one of the men had left the property at the request of renovation contractors on the site. The other man, 23-year-old Darryl Fussell II, of Dacula, was still inside. Officers reported confronting Fussell and trying to get him to leave the building and that’s when police said Fussell grabbed a sharp tool and rushed the officers. One officer drew his weapon and shot Fussell.

RELATED: GBI investigates fatal shooting involving police officer in Riverdale

According to a complaint filed on behalf of Fussell’s family, Fussell was involuntarily committed as a psychiatric patient at Riverwoods Behavioral Health three days prior to the shooting after being diagnosed with Schizophrenia and admitting to medical staff that he was at risk of harming himself and others.

The family alleges that two days after his admission, Fussell was found non-responsive and transported to a non-emergent section of Southern Regional Medical Center (SRMC). His vital signs were reported to be stable. Fussell escaped the area on April 13, hours before he was shot by police.

His family claims that not only did Riverwoods Behavioral Health fail to inform staff at SRMC that Fussell was an involuntary psychiatric patient, but that when SRMC later learned of his status through his parents, he was still allowed to leave the facility.

“Hospital security wasn’t notified nor was a hospital lockdown initiated. Mr. and Mrs. Fussell drove to SRMC and looked for their son at the hospital and in the surrounding Riverdale area. Several hours later, unbeknownst to the Fussells, their son wandered into a construction site, grabbed a hammer, and began hitting himself in the head but then laid down peacefully,” attorneys for the family said.

Here are the key takeaways from the lawsuit:

  • Fussell’s parents filed the lawsuit, naming Acadia Healthcare Company, Riverwoods Behavioral Health System of Atlanta, Riverwoods Behavioral Health, Riverwoods Behavioral Health System of Atlanta Prime Healthcare Services, Southern Regional Medical Center, and the nurses involved.
  • The lawsuit claims those named in the lawsuit were “negligent in the nursing care and supervision provided” to Fussell, “which was the direct and proximate cause of his abscondence and encounter with the police that led to his death.”
  • The family is demanding a jury trial.

READ: Baby decapitated during birth at Riverdale hospital, lawsuit alleges

The parents of Darryl Fussell II, along with their legal team, are expected to hold a news conference detailing their lawsuit against Riverwoods Behavioral Health, Prime Healthcare Services d/b/a Southern Regional Medical Center, Acadia Healthcare Company, and other parties at 10 a.m. Tuesday.