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Jan 17, 2013 1:26 PM by Sam Salzwedel

PTSD factor in Tucson veteran's death

TUCSON - Dustin Wernli's parents did not want to talk on camera, but they shared photos of their son. They say their Wernli was a Navy combat medic. In 2004, he was deployed with the Marine Corp in Iraq where he suffered a head injury from an explosion.

Tucson Police say Tuesday night Wernli called 911 saying he was suicidal and wanted police to shoot him.

Wernli pulled a gun on an officer and that's exactly what happened.

Doctor Dan Ranieri works for La Frontera Arizona where they help veterans who are returning from war.

"They're having a hard time finding homes, they're having a hard time finding jobs, they're having a hard time staying in jobs once they find they're having a difficult time with their relationships," Ranieri said.

He says the military set a record this year with an active service member committing suicide about once a day. Ranieri says there are lots of places for soldiers to find support sometimes too many.

"There are so many places to go that it gets pretty confusing and just the shear confusion of it all it may force somebody to inaction."

Ranieri has treated many veterans and does not want them to wait until their suicidal.

"If you're struggling and you need a helping hand that's the best time. Obviously the earlier in the process the better," he said.

Dustin Wernli's parents say their son was in treatment for post-traumatic stress but like a lot of other veterans, his suicidal thoughts ended in his death.

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