Mother of man killed in home invasion blames 'broken VA system'
Posted October 26, 2016
Goldsboro, N.C. — The family of a man who was shot and killed when he broke into a Goldsboro home on Saturday said they do not blame the homeowner for killing him, but rather a broken VA Hospital system who failed to help their soldier.
Officials at the home at 202 Little River Drive in Wayne County said the homeowner, who is identified by real estate records and by neighbors as Mark Hansen, woke up to find a masked man wearing all black inside the home. Hansen and the intruder, 32-year-old Jeremy Batson, got into a fight.
Investigators said Hansen and his family were asleep when their alarm activated and he went to check on the alarm. When he did not see anything unusual, Hansen returned to bed, when the alarm was activated again. Authorities said when he went to check the alarm for the second time, he found Batson holding a gun.
During the ensuing fight, a firearm discharged, shooting Batson, who was airlifted to Vidant Hospital, where he died.
"They responded to the scene. They actually found the suspect. He was lying by the door," said Major Tom Effler.
Investigators with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said they don't expect any charges to be filed against the homeowner because he was within his legal rights to defend his family.
"Very much legal, very much legal, well within his rights," Effler said.
Batson's family said they don't blame Hansen for what happened. However, what they do blame is a broken VA Hospital system that they said fails to adequately help soldiers who return from combat in the Middle East.
Batson's mother said her son was traumatized and depressed after serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that he tried repeatedly to get help from the VA. She said he was also addicted to drugs that helped ease his pain.
According to his obituary published by the Shumate-Faulk funeral home, Batson's addiction began in middle school, but very much enjoyed his time serving in the Army. He was set to being an overseas contract job, but suffered a "blow" when he was cut due to overstaffing.
Investigators said there are no winners in this case.
"It's traumatic, someone coming into your home like that. It's a violation of you, and of course the family of the suspect has suffered a big loss too," Effler said.
Batson will be laid to rest on Thursday in his Army uniform at the Eastern Carolina Veterans Cemetery in Goldsboro.