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Friends struggling after Overland Park teen killed by police

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jan 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-22 19:48:00-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hearts are heavy in Johnson County after a 17-year-old boy was killed in an officer-involved shooting over the weekend.

Overland Park Police said John Albers, a junior at Blue Valley Northwest High School, was suicidal when they came to his home at around 5:45 p.m Saturday.

Investigators said the garage door came up and a car pulled forward.

That's when an officer shot and killed Albers.

"A lot of the kids were crying or writing his initials on their arms," said Emalee Stuart, who took Human Connections class with Albers.

The class only has about 10 students and can be recommended by counselors.

Stuart was too upset to go to school on Monday, afraid she would look over and see an empty seat in class.

She said she spoke to Albers a few days before he was killed.

"He was having trouble with classes, and I was like 'I'll help you.' I'm in a higher level with that subject," said Stuart.

Johnson County Mental Health said a trained social worker, called a co-responder, did not go to the call about the suicidal person.

About 80 percent of OP officers have crisis intervention training but the social worker is clinically trained and has a master's degree.

"Their job is understanding mental health conditions, understanding how to escalate or de-escalate a situation," said Tim DeWeese, the director of Johnson County Mental Health.

Only one co-responder serves Overland Park at this time. She was not working on Saturday.

DeWeese said law enforcement will typically secure the scene before the co-responder is called out.

Johnson County Mental Health is trying to hire another co-responder to serve OP right now.

The Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team is looking at Albers' and the officer's actions.

Either way, Stuart and classmates are left missing their friend.

"I wish people would realize mental health is a big deal and it's affecting a lot of lives today," said Stuart.