In early 2020, Juston Root’s condition was deteriorating.

Diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a young adult, the 41-year-old wasn’t taking his medicine, and those around him were concerned. His family felt that he should be civilly committed. His psychiatrist described him as "actively psychotic with poor self care,” according to a Jan. 6, 2020 evaluation. "He is not at acute risk and cannot be hospitalized against his will at this time but given his history we believe hospitalization is very likely.”

On a brisk, damp morning one month later, Root drove himself to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, part of the Boston medical center complex that also houses the Massachusetts Mental Health Center — he was in need of help. A security guard was the first person to interact with Root and radioed in a description of him after a bizarre conversation, noting that Root had a transparent object that looked like a gun. The Boston police arrived, and fewer than 10 minutes later, Root was dead, shot at least 31 times by the officers. The plastic paintball gun Root carried was never fired.