This afternoon's memorial service for Jack Dale Collins was a punch to the heart. Thirty acquaintances and strangers lined the wooden pews in St. Francis Church to remember the homeless and mentally ill man who was shot by police after he emerged, covered in blood, from a bathroom in Hoyt Arboretum this March.
"We knew him as a quiet man, a fellow traveler who stayed out of the public eye. He came to the Saint Francis dining hall often enough that we knew him, but not often enough that we were able to help," said Pastoral Administrator Valerie Chapman. "We are gathered here as a diverse community motivated to see that people who struggle find help, rather than an untimely end to their lives."
The memorial was scheduled before another man struggling with mental illness, Keaton Otis, was shot dead after an incident with police last week.
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