Mother of suspect who pulled gun on Kewanee police officer speaks out

Published: Apr. 20, 2019 at 10:23 PM CDT
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The mother of a man who came face-to-face with a Kewanee police officer’s gun, after pulling his own firearm, is speaking out on her son’s mental health issues and drug abuse.

The bodycam footage shows the near deadly encounter as the police officers instincts to survive kicked in. The entire incident lasted just seconds and it could have had a completely different outcome for 29-year-old Tyler Demuynck, who is being held in the Henry County, Ill. jail while he awaits his court hearing.

It is not his first time before a judge. His mother, Lorie Demuynck, said her son suffers from mental illness and it's a never ending cycle.

“I do think there needs to be more awareness out there because there are kids like Tyler who slip through the cracks and everything just elevates and this is what it ends up being,” she said.

Lorie Demuynck said she is thankful the incident turned out the way it did, but feared the worst.

"I thought that was the last video I was ever going to see of him," she said.

The incident happened on Saturday, April 13. Kewanee Police confronted Tyler Demuynck because they believed he was involved in switching license plates on vehicles at a nearby gas station and nursing home. As the officer spoke with him, body camera video shows Demuynck pulling a gun, causing the officer to draw his own.

"It's still hard to watch but when I seen it I knew that was not my son. I've seen that person before. I didn't like that person. I've seen him before but that's not Tyler," Lorie Demuynck said.

Lorie Demuynck he's struggled his entire life with his mental health issues.

"He does good for so long and then it's like it's the oppositional defiant disorder. Or something," she said.

In and out of prison and detention centers his entire life, Lorie said it feels like she hardly knows who her son is.

"He's been out of our life pretty much the whole time...he's grown up in prison. And he did that because there's something going on in his head. He needs medication, he needs therapy. He needs something," she said, “It's just very hard to watch your child suffer and you can't do anything about it. And to continue to see him struggle through life because he doesn't really know what life is. He knows prison. He don't know life."

Lorie says Tyler was originally diagnosed with slight depression and professionals said he would be fine.

"Then when he did crime in Galva and then we went back to court, the state showed paperwork that said he had ODD, ADHD, and depression. It didn't say slight. It said depression. So, I was wondering why we didn’t know that. Maybe if we would have known that then we could have found help for him and then all of this stuff wouldn't have happened and we would have been able to raise him and see him through all of this," she said.

After her son's latest action, Lorie said she wants to apologize to the officer.

"I know it isn’t my fault but I want to apologize for Tyler. He does feel remorse. He's so sorry that it happened. He says, ‘momma I was not going to pull that gun on him.’ I said, ‘but it kind of looked like you did,’” Lorie said.

While she can't change the past, Lorie remains hopeful for the future.

"I just want him to get help. I just want this to end. This cycle. It's just a cycle and it's tiring. He's missing out on life. He's missing out on everything." she said.

Tyler Demuynck is expected to make his initial court appearance on Monday.

Demuynck was charged with multiple felonies which include aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, felon in possession of a weapon, aggravated assault on a peace officer, and possession of a weapon without a FOID card. Demuynck also faces a misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of weapons.