Theodore Scoville, who was shot and killed by a liquor store owner in Port Jefferson on Oct. 3 after brandishing a samurai sword, was not just some crazy man [“Man swinging sword fatally shot, cops say,” News, Oct. 4].
He graduated from New York University in 1999 and practiced physical therapy in California until a motorcycle accident in 2011, when he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. He also severely injured nerves in his arm, requiring him to wear a sling ever since.
Through my friendship with his family, I understood that because of his brain injury, Ted developed a short-term memory deficit and problems with impulses consistent with a frontal brain injury. It is well documented that people with such injuries struggle with impulse control. Usually, Ted was even-tempered, but at times, he had emotional outbursts. Nonetheless, Ted pursued his interests in organic gardening and hoped to further his education in physical therapy.
It is important to understand that there are very limited resources and services to treat such a condition, although his mother devotedly tried again and again to get him services and benefits, but with limited results. In fact, just before the fatal incident, Ted had temporarily lost his Medicaid benefits for a home health aide because of a paperwork mix-up.
I believe that when he went to the liquor store, his mind was influenced by his brain injury. Everyone should have compassion for him; brain injuries can happen to anyone. Say a prayer for Ted, and for the store owner who shot Ted in self defense.
Mitchel W. Eisenstein,
Editor’s note: The writer is a licensed clinical social worker.