TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -
It’s been two years since 37-year-old Leilani Carrillo suffered a devastating blow after five of her family members were killed in an apparent murder-suicide on Tucson’s south side.
Now, she wants to use this tragedy as a way to spread awareness about the seriousness of mental health.
“It still brings me to tears when someone says something about him,” Carillo said. “I can’t even fathom the thought of how it really went down but, I picture it so vividly.”
Police said Carrillo’s brother, Christopher, killed four of their family members including their mom, dad, brother and Leilani Carillo’s daughter before turning the gun on himself at their home in May 2015.
READ MORE: Police: 5 people found dead in Tucson home
Carillo said her brother suffered from a series of mental health issues leading up to the shooting and claims that day, he just snapped.
“I said I have a feeling he’s going to do something back in February just because of the state that he was in,” recalled Carillo.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Arizona, 1 in 5, or 200,000 adults and youth experience a mental illness in a given year in Pima County. Of those people, 57,000 are Hispanic, 4,800 are Asians and 7,600 are African Americans.
READ MORE: Friend of shooter in murder-suicide speaks
“I would love for people to really support their family members with mental illness,” Carillo said. “Don’t be in denial. Speak about it.”
Carillo, who said she’s been suffering with serious anxiety since the shooting, hopes to start a community based group to help other families of loved ones with a mental illness.
“They didn’t see what I’ve seen and I wouldn’t want them to see what I’ve saw,” Carillo said. “It was not normal and it wasn’t right. Cherish your children because, I cherish my child but you never know. It’s not even about a stranger taking your child, your own family member can take your child.”
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