Mother of man shot by Orlando police says he’s an army veteran being treated for PTSD

ORLANDO, Fla. — The mother of a man shot by Orlando police Wednesday says her son was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The Orlando Police Department says 35-year old Steffan Haskins was causing a disturbance at his apartment complex on Hiawassee Road Wednesday morning and used a gun to try to carjack another man.

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Police say they were forced to shoot Haskins multiple times.

His mother, Kristin Haskins, says he’s still at Orlando Regional Medical Center recovering from multiple surgeries. She described her son as “a good dude,” who was struggling to adjust to life after war.

“It was very difficult there in Iraq for the things he had to do, and the things that he saw,” Haskins said. “He turned 21 in Iraq.”

Haskins says  Steffan grew up as one of three children in Ohio. She says the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 shaped his future.

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“He was in ninth grade when the towers went down,” Haskins said. “He said he knew then what he needed to do, and what he wanted to do.”

After high school, Steffan spent two years as a gunner in the army, fighting in the Iraq war. When he got out, his mother says he followed a girlfriend to Orlando.

Haskins says Steffan gets treatment at the local VA hospital for PTSD, but she believes he recently had issues with isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and friends from Iraq committing suicide.

She believes what happened at his apartment complex Wednesday was the result of a mental health crisis.

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Neighbors who called 9-1-1 said they heard things breaking in Steffan’s apartment, and saw him with a gun “looking over both of his shoulders in a paranoid fashion.”

When police arrived on the scene, they say they saw him with a gun, running towards an SUV, attempting to carjack the driver.

That’s when police say they opened fire and shot him.

As is standard procedure, the use of force is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Steffan’s mother now hopes he’ll make it through the medical and legal issues ahead of him, and gets the help he needs.

“I know that he has these episodes,” Haskins said. “I just felt like maybe this is one of them.”

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More of Haskins’ family plans to travel to Orlando from Ohio.

The Birdwell Foundation, a group that helps veterans and first-responders who suffer from PTSD, says they plan to help get Haskins in a treatment program if the legal system allows.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.