Top Police Officer Shot by Colleagues — (Christian vs. Eli Lilly)

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51.  It is against this backdrop of events that the Court and Jury must consider the death of Sgt. Steve Christian.

The Tragic, Unnecessary Death of Sgt. Steve Christian

52.  Steve and Joanne Christian were married from November 10, 1969, until his death in the early morning hours of Saturday, November 4, 1995 (which happened to be his 47th birthday) at the hands of his fellow Dallas police officers.

53.  He served our country as a Navy corpsman during the Vietnam War, and, after being honorably discharged served the citizens of Dallas for a quarter of a century as a police officer.  His commendations included a medal for saving a young girl’s life when others had given her up for dead.

54.  Steve and Joanne had four children: daughters Monica and Tiffany and sons  Steve Jr. and Paul.  They all loved him and they all miss him terribly.

55.  Prior to the last year of his life, Sgt. Christian was what most people would call a “straight arrow”.   As a teacher at the Dallas Police Academy he was well respected by other officers.  At home he was a family man who was not prone to violence.  A “Christian” in more than surname, he even introduced his police partner to the church which the latter now serves as pastor.

56.  But his life was not with stress, strain and pain.   In March of 1991 he hurt his  neck in an automobile accident.   After this injury he required near constant medical for pain.  Then, in early 1994 he was transferred from the Police Academy which he loved to jail duty  which he, like many Dallas police officers, hated.   Going to work became, quite literally, going to jail.

57.  These circumstances were depressing to Sgt. Christian.   He needed help, and  he sought it.  At the suggestion of his wife’s psychologist, whom Sgt. Christian saw together  with her from time to time to maintain the stability of their marriage, he went to their family  physician and requested a prescription for Prozac.  Dr. Shepherd prescribed 20mg/day for him beginning on or about February 16, 1994.

58.  Under the influence of this powerful mind altering drug, Sgt. Christian’s personality underwent a radical change.   He had dramatic swings in mood and in his level of activation.  His sleep was markedly disturbed and he became periodically dissociative and/or manic.  He also demonstrated a previously unknown tendency towards violence.  For example, on one occasion he “beat someone up” in his sleep.  On another he had a quarrel with his wife and shot his pistol through the ceiling of their bedroom.  He also demonstrated  a propensity for dissociative detachment involving self-destructive violence.  On one occasion he gave his wife his gun and suggested that she either kill herself or him.  On another, he drove his car, with his family into it, into a ditch and then laughed.

59.  By June of 1995 his concern for his own behavior was so severe that he checked himself into a hospital for daily psychiatric therapy.  Unfortunately, the medical response, which was consistent with Lilly’s prescription guidelines, was to triple his dosage of  Prozac to 60mg/day.  

60.  Approximately one week before his death, Sgt. Christian’s behavior had become so erratic and inappropriate that his wife of 26 years asked him to leave their home for a while.   He went to stay at the home of his biological mother.

61.  Joanne Christian called her husband at work on Wednesday, November 1, 1995, reassured him that she loved him, and told him that she would stick with him and help him work through his problems.   She never spoke to her husband again.

62.  On Thursday, November 2, 1995, Sgt. Christian called the Dallas police  department to report that he could not come to work because he was “seeing demons”.

63.  Late on Friday night, Steve Christian called his former partner and present pastor Herb Ebsen and told him that he was being pursued by demons.  Within hours Reverend Ebsen was awakened by Dallas police officers who requested that he accompany them to the Christian’s home to tell Joanne Christian that she was a widow.

64.  The Christian family is still not completely certain about the events that  transpired in the wee hours of that Saturday morning.    But several facts seem to be fairly  clear.  First, before leaving his mother’s house, Sgt. Christian yelled at his wife (who was not there) and fired his gun into the air.  Second he drove in plain clothes to the Dallas police substation near his childhood home, and got out of his car with his pistol in hand or belt. Third, he had some type of encounter with Officer Sparks, and Sparks was shot, either by Sgt. Christian or someone else.  Perhaps, under the powerful influence of , Officer Sparks appeared as one of the “demon”  pursuers.  Fourth, he apparently went to the locked back  doors of the station and shook them or beat on them.  Two Dallas police officers arrived on the scene and immediately fired 32 bullets at Sgt. Christian, 27 of which found their mark. Sgt. Steve Christian was shot to death by two of his fellow Dallas police officers.   

65.  The autopsy revealed high levels of Prozac in Sgt. Christian’s blood.

66.  Clearly, the drug , and the design and marketing of that drug by Lilly, caused or contributed to the radical changes in Sgt. Christian’s personality and behavior, and, ultimately, his death.