Michelle Morrison-King saw her estranged husband’s number pop up on her phone just before noon Friday. She said she was caught by surprise.
Morrison-King and Jason King were separated in 2010 and still shared custody of an adopted niece. Yet, they hadn’t seen each other much in the past year.
Still, the call worried Morrison-King, since Jason King, 38, was diagnosed with bipolar and personality disorders in 2012. The two had only communicated through text messages in the past months and she said the call was “out of the blue.”
They talked for about 20 minutes about King’s niece, who she said was having trouble adjusting after not seeing him for a while. She said he jumbled his words, causing her to feel something was off about him, and offered to take him to a hospital. King declined and said he was fine, she said.
He was just a person who was in a lot of pain and he was trying to do the best he could with his disease.
Michelle Morrison-King about her estranged husband, Jason King
“I was trying to make sure he wasn’t thinking in a negative way,” she said about the call.
King would be dead less than two hours later. He was shot by two California Highway Patrol officers just before 2 p.m after officers said he pointed a gun at them near Date Avenue and Tyler Street. The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office released King’s name Saturday.
King was shot after failing to obey the officers’ commands to get on the ground and instead, pulled a gun out of his waistband, turned and pointed it at an officer, according to Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Tony Turnbull. The department’s homicide unit will investigate the shooting, which is common when an officer-involved shooting happens in an unincorporated area of Sacramento County. The District Attorney’s Office will also conduct its own review of the incident.
Our officers routinely place themselves directly in harm’s way to protect our communities and the use of force is always a last resort.
CHP commissioner Joe Farrow, in a statement after the shooting
The officers, eight- and 20-year veterans, provided King medical aid and called an ambulance. King was said to be in critical condition at an area hospital. His death was announced around 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The officers, who were not injured, were placed on paid administrative leave, according to a statement Friday night by CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow .
Morrison-King found out about the shooting when sheriff’s deputies and coroner staff arrived at her home in Rancho Cordova at 9 p.m. that night. Morrison-King said the news was hardest on King’s 14-year-old niece, who they both were granted legal custody of shortly after getting married in 2005.
“She just said, ‘I want him back. I want him back,’ ” Morrison-King said. .
King’s life had started off as bleak as his death, according to Morrison-King. He had lived in and out of foster homes from the time he entered grade school until he was 15, when he went to live with his grandmother and aunt, Morrison-King said. His mother died in a car accident roughly three years later, she said.
They met in 2002, while the pair took classes at American River College and King worked several part-time jobs, such as a club bouncer or pizza delivery driver. The pair became very involved with church, she said.
According to Morrison-King, he sought treatment at a psychiatric hospital off of Auburn Boulevard. She said he was living with a girlfriend on Palm Avenue, north of Auburn Boulevard, at the time of the shooting.
“He was just a person who was in a lot of pain and he was trying to do the best he could with his disease,” Morrison-King said.
Morrison-King said King did not like to take medication prescribed to treat his mental health issues and would sometimes speak to himself. She said his condition had gotten worse within the past few years.
King had several run-ins with the law since 1997, according to Sacramento County court records. Most of his charges were either dismissed or he pleaded no contest. The charges include two felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and two misdemeanor charges of assaulting a parking enforcement officer in July of 1997. Those charges were later dismissed.
Felony charges of possessing a controlled substance filed in 2011 were also dismissed. More recently, King was charged with drinking under the influence in 2012, in which a no contest plea was entered.