‘This is not the same person’: Friends say the man who was killed by the police has had a psychological crisis recently

JP Muir, 44, was killed by South Salt Lake police on Tuesday. Family and friends remember him as a “loving, caring, wonderful person” who went through a mental health crisis. (Photo of the Muir family)

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South Salt Lake – “What could I have done differently so that this didn’t happen?”

This question has been on Jason Welford’s mind since he was his friend Jeb Muir for many years Killed by police south of Salt Lake.

Police said they were called to report a man with a gun late Monday, just before midnight, near 400 East and Robert Street (2500 South) and “a shootout occurred.” An officer was taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries, and Muir was pronounced dead at the scene.

In the days before his death, Muir’s friends and family said he went through a severe decline in his mental health, becoming paranoid and insane.

Friends say Muir’s wife was worried about the sudden changes, and helped him seek professional help and medication to treat his mental health. She even called the police earlier on the night of Muir’s death and asked them to complete a health check or confiscate Muir’s guns, but was told the police couldn’t do anything because he “looked fine.”

South Salt Lake Police spokeswoman Danielle Crowell said Thursday that two officers were called around 6:50 p.m. Monday to provide “back-up assistance” regarding Muir and his wife. According to the police, the wife needed to collect some things from her home and wanted the police standing by in case there was a problem with Muir. Crowell said nothing in the police report filed by the officers indicated a mental health crisis.

Officers spoke to both parties involved, and there was no indication of any mental health crisis requiring immediate attention, Crowell said. She also said that there was no indication in the officers’ report that the wife had asked to remove weapons from her home.

However, Muir’s friends say, although his wife did everything she could to provide him with the care he needed, the system didn’t work in time.

“What happened was that Gibb wasn’t treated for whatever mental problem was going on,” Wilford said. “That was so obvious. His wife took all the steps they should have taken to help him and get treatment – and she was rejected. Then it ended with this.”

JP Muir, 44, was killed by South Salt Lake police on Tuesday.  Family and friends remember him as A
JP Muir, 44, was killed by South Salt Lake police on Tuesday. Family and friends remember him as a “loving, caring, wonderful person” who went through a mental health crisis. (Photo: Muir family photo)

“There is no way to do that”

Friends say Muir, who was portrayed in news reports of his death, is nothing like the “amazing”, “kindness” and “loving” man they knew. In a letter written by Rachel Welford, another friend of the Muir family, Muir was described as a “servant of all” who educated preschoolers at the church and spent years supervising a Burmese refugee family.

“He was the one standing on the grill to make sure everyone was fed,” she said. “He was the one who played with the children in the water. He was the one who showed up and never wanted to be admitted. He was the husband who tied his arms to his wife and showed up day after day, serving everyone he met.”

Jason Welford said Muir was often the first to attend church or neighborhood events, and stayed behind to help clean up after everyone else had left.

He said he spoke with Muir for three hours the night Muir was killed, trying to calm him down from what seemed to be a fit of frenzy. But he said he did not think things would escalate further.

“If I had any concern in my mind that he might hurt anyone one day, I would have dropped what I was doing and went to get it,” he said. “I knew he was pissed and was going through some things, I didn’t just collect violence with that, because it’s pocket. And that’s what kills everyone now — there’s no way to do that.”

He continued, “I’m still thinking, why didn’t I go there?” “Why didn’t… go pick him up and go get some coffee? You know? What could I have done differently so that this wouldn’t happen? There too – now there is no pocket. I don’t know how this could have happened I played – if any of us could have done Anything different.”


If I had any concern in my mind that he might ever hurt anyone, I would have dropped what I was doing and went to get it. I knew he was angry and was going through some things, I didn’t just collect violence with that, because it’s pocket. And that’s what’s killing everyone now – there’s no way to do that.

– Jason Welford, friend of Jeb Muir


What can he do?

Rachel Welford said she wanted to tell Muir’s story, not only because she didn’t want him to be identified with this incident, but because she wanted to do what she could to make sure others could get the help they needed before it was too late. While acknowledging she doesn’t have all the answers, she said she hopes police departments can provide more training for officers dealing with mental health crises, or provide social workers or other professionals to help police in those situations.

“There is a lack of education and understanding of all of this,” she said. “We see it across the board in Utah with high suicide rates. When a police officer gets involved in a really high situation, these are the opportunities to bring in a professional who understands mental health.”

Jason Welford said he doesn’t blame the officers for defending themselves, but believes more could have been done to prevent the situation from escalating in the first place.

“It looks fine to me,” the cops said, “but how will they know if he’s acting differently when they’ve only known him for five minutes?” Asked. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve known it for years. And just, all of a sudden, there was a change and then it got worse. I don’t know, but there’s something I missed, I feel like.”

“This wasn’t a bad guy doing bad things,” said Rachel Welford. “This was a wonderful man who had gone through a tragic decline in mental health and seemed to feel like there was no way out. We really want everyone to know that he was an amazing guy. He was such a wonderful loving and caring person – thousands of people – who impacted their lives and they will be affected by this.”

Contribution: rustic pat

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