KDVR in Denver reports that Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood, the suspect in Monday's shooting spree at Deer Creek elementary school in Littleton, had sought help for his mental problems, but was turned away because he couldn't pay for treatment. KDVR interviewed Eastwood's father, a Native American rancher with whom the 32-year-old suspect has lived for the last 5 years. "He tried to get help," Bruco's father told reporters. "He says 'I've been to places and asked if they could help me.' He says 'they won't help me... if I go there, they tell me I need money and I can't pay them.'"
Stephen Kopranos of the Denver office of Mental Health America told KDVR that Denver ranks 50th in the number of in-patient beds per capita for the mentally ill.
Economic conditions have made the situation even worse for Coloradans with mental disorders. In September, Governor Bill Ritter announced that he would cut funding for mental health in order to close Colorado's significant budget gap. As a result in-patient psychiatric facilities in Denver were forced to close their doors to patients.