Family speaks on shooter's release from mental health facility

Porfirio Hernandez (Source: Jonesboro Police Dept.)
Porfirio Hernandez (Source: Jonesboro Police Dept.)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The family of Porfirio Hernandez opened up to Region 8 News, saying they overheard him making violent threats to himself and others prior to his shooting spree that left three people dead and four injured before he killed himself.

"Porfirio called her and said he wanted to kill himself...commit suicide and wanted to kill people," Antonio Sayaga-Hernandez, Porfirio's brother, told Region 8 News.

His family told Region 8 News they tried to get him help but just two days after arriving at St. Bernards' Behavioral Health Unit, Porfirio was released. Three days later, Porfirio murdered Crisanto Islas, age 38, Floza Davila, age 12 and Ricardo Lopez, age 31.

We sat down with Porfirio's brother, Antonio who told us can't understand why his brother was released.

"My brother was a hard worker. He had a son, he loved his son, he loved his wife," Antonio Sayaga-Hernandez told Region 8 News. "If he did it, he didn't do it because he wanted to. It was because he was sick mentally."

Antiono said family members began noticing subtle changes in Porfirio's mood two months ago.

​"He began to change. Then we would ask him about stuff and he would not remember about the things. We would tell him something now and after five minutes we would ask him and he could not remember. That alerted us that he was ill."

Antonio said they took Porfirio to multiple clinics but none could see him in a timely manner. Antonio said they couldn't wait because by that time, things were getting worse.

Antonio said the family took Porfirio to a medical center because he was making threats to kill himself and kill others.

Monday, Porfirio was accepted into St. Bernards' Behavioral Health Unit.

He was released Wednesday.

Antonio said he was so concerned about Porfirio's release, he went back to urge the hospital to readmit Porfirio.

"Let them know that our brother needed to stay inside the hospital, that they did not have to let him leave the hospital. That he was bad. That he was not thinking straight."

Antonio said they were told their brother's symptoms weren't severe enough to keep him past 24-48 hours.

Porfirio's family gave Region 8 News his discharge papers from St. Bernards' Behavioral Health Unit.

Porfirio was diagnosed as "depressive" and told to "resume normal activity" along with taking medications nightly for depression and sleep.

Porfirio was an undocumented immigrant but the family doesn't feel that was the cause of his release.

Antonio said they tried to find a solution to Porfirio's sickness but unfortunately, were unsuccessful.

"Well, now we are suffering the consequence."

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.​