‘Recent downward spiral;’ Family says man dead after shooting officer battled mental health issues

CLAYTON — The man who died from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound after shooting a Clayton police officer battled with years of mental health issues, according to family members.

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Elijah Clements, 22, was identified as the man dead after the shooting and standoff on Hacker Road in Clayton Thursday.

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Elijah’s parents, Robert and Tabitha Clements, sent a statement to News Center 7 Friday afternoon detailing struggles they called a ‘recent downward spiral.’

“As the firstborn of our six children, he has battled through mental health issues over the years, but unfortunately, could not find a way past a recent downward spiral. On behalf of our family, our thoughts and prayers are with the injured officer, and we thank everyone who put their life in harm’s way in an attempt to bring about a peaceful resolution,” Robert and Tabitha said in the emailed statement.

“At this time, we ask for privacy as our family grieves for the injured officer, and mourns the tragic and permanent loss that we are now faced with.”

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Family members at the home of Robert and Tabitha also confirmed the authenticity of the statement sent to this newsroom.

Officers arrived on the scene around 1:45 p.m. and began to speak with the owners of the residence. This is when Clements ran inside.

Officers went upstairs attempting to make contact with him, but once they made their way to the second floor, the suspect started shooting at police, Clayton Police Chief Matthew Hamlin said.

>>RELATED: Sheriff: Man suspected of shooting, wounding Clayton police officer dies by suicide

The gunfire and Clements’ refusal to come out prompted a law enforcement call for additional assistance around 2:15 p.m.

SWAT units responded to the same call and arrived on scene quickly.

While flying a drone through the residence, a SWAT member located Clements with no signs of life.

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck told News Center 7′s James Brown Thursday that Clements died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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The officer who was shot is still in the hospital at this time.

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