A military veteran in Madera is killed in an officer involved shooting.
Madera Police said 59-year old Michael Robert Novak attempted to attack officers with a butcher knife on Thursday night near Cleveland Avenue and Highway 99. Four officers shot at Novak, and they have since been placed on administrative leave.
Chief Dino Lawson said, “It’s tough on everybody, it’s sad.”
Lawson said Novak was seen driving on the wrong side of the road on Gateway Drive. Witnesses claim he was speeding and hitting curbs. Police said Novak finally hit a car on Cleveland Avenue.
”The suspect then decided to exit the vehicle with the butcher knife and advanced on the officers, pointing it at them, simulating stabbing motions,” stated Lawson.
The Chief said his officers feard for their lives as they repeated commands to Novak to drop his knife.
Lawson said, “The individual was just a few feet away from them, lunging at them with a knife, and they fired rounds, striking the individual.”
Police said Novak was a Navy veteran who suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He allegedly refused help from the Veteran’s Affairs Department and retreated to self medicating.
Dennis Koch is the director of Madera County Behavioral Health Services. He said about those who suffer from PTSD, “They are very sensitive to their environment, they have flashbacks or nightmares of what happened there, they have anxiety, they’re anxious, they’re on edge.”
Koch said military veterans are susceptible to PTSD. He said there is help out there.