MONTEVALLO, Ala. – His Army stint complete after serving in Afghanistan, Damian Daniels left Alabama to begin a new life in Texas. He bought a house, enrolled in college and supported the Black Lives Matter movement. Black himself, Daniels was working to start a new business when paranoid hallucinations began last month and a brother sought help from police.
Shot dead by officers who were sent to aid him, Daniels was buried Friday on Sept. 11, the anniversary of the date that sent him down the path to war.
Relatives gathered at Alabama National Cemetery, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Birmingham, to mourn a death they are still trying to understand.
"A call for help should never result in the loss of life,” brother Brendan Daniels said in an interview beforehand.
The shooting is still under review in San Antonio, where a sheriff defended officers' actions but a county leader said the killing never should have occurred. Grand jurors will review what happened, a prosecutor has said.
Brendan Daniels said it took only a matter of days last month for Damian to go from seeming normal to being on edge, so he called deputies to check on his brother. He was stunned to get the call back from authorities on Aug. 25 saying the 30-year-old man was dead, shot on his front porch by a sheriff’s deputy in San Antonio.
Daniels' funeral was set for the 9/11 anniversary in remembrance of the day that landed him in a war zone after the terror attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Her face covered by a mask adorned by stars, mother Annette Watkins sat in the front row holding a folded U.S. flag.
An Alabama native, Daniels grew up in Montgomery and graduated from George Washington Carver High School in 2009. He signed up for the military like two of his brothers and served in Afghanistan before getting out and deciding to settle in San Antonio.