Vietnam Vet shot and killed in his own home: we need more training for Police!!

One day a few months ago I was doing some research on local veterans for a piece I was writing. As I scrolled through local news stories, one in particular caught my eye!

I started reading and couldn’t stop crying. This was a story about a local Vietnam Veteran who suffered from mental illness (most probably induced from being in Vietnam), who was shot and killed while he stood in side his house. Now, to be completely fair, he did have a firearm, but you have to dig a little deeper to find out what really happened and what caused this mild mannered man (by all accounts) to be standing in his kitchen holding a firearm, and then being fatally wounded by local police.

marshallfranklin1Marshall Franklin of Portsmouth Virginia served his country and did two tours in Vietnam. According to his family (Marshall had 9 brothers and sisters), Marshall was a creative man and had a gift for painting and making crafts. But when he came back from Vietnam, they say he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He didn’t like to take his medicine because he said it stifled his creativity, so he didn’t always take it according to Marshal’s sister Alberta. Having nearly three decades experience working with mental health patients, Alberta says she knew what should have happened. So when she found out Marshall wasn’t taking his meds, she called the community services board and was sure he would get the hep he needed. However, that is not at all what happened.

Before police officers surrounded the home of Marshall Franklin and a SWAT team moved in, all Franklin’s family could do was watch. The standoff ended with two officers shot and Franklin dead, a scenario, Franklin’s family says that could have been avoided. That is, if they ever got a chance to talk to him.

So when her brother Marshall – who’d been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress syndrome – wasn’t taking his meds, she called the community services board and was confident he’d get help.

However that wasn’t what happened.

According to a police summary of that day filed in court – “mental health was on scene” and told police the suspect “came at her with some type of sharp object.” It goes on to say officers saw Marshall with a “shank to his throat.” When police tried to take him into custody, they said Marshall lunged at them with the weapon. SWAT was called. More than 20 officers showed up at the home, and snipers were positioned on homes across from Marshall’s. Canine units were also called and arrived at the home. Seems a little excessive to me!

Marshall did not have a phone inside the house and Police were informed about this by the family.


Interestingly, according to a deposition taken in May by a high ranking police lieutenant and training director, in this incident “mental health may not have even been on site yet.”  Also, the mental health worker said in her deposition in June 2015 that she never assessed Marshall, and that an officer and a deputy were already there when she arrived. In fact, she said it was police who told her Marshall had a knife.

Also, according to a lawsuit filed by the family, there is no definitive evidence that Marshall fired the shotgun found next to his body or that the shotgun shells are even from that gun. While he did have guns and ammunition in the house , his family says he and his brother who lived with him in the house were avid hunters, and that is what the shotguns were used for.

You can find the lawsuit filing here.

To make matters worse, dozens of police showed up and surrounded the house, yet the family was not allowed to talk with Marshall, or have any contact with him. “He was blocked off from every single thing that he knew,” said his sister, Tony Franklin Dixon, “the people who loved him, the people who he trusted. He was not allowed to talk with us at all.” According to Marshall’s son, “When I got there,I asked them to let me talk to my father. But they wouldn’t let me go in there at all.”  “He died thinking that his family neglected him, didn’t care about him, and he was alone,” added Juanita Ebron, one of his other sisters.

When SWAT showed up at the home, they threw a negotiation phone in the house to talk to him. His family says it would have only worsened his condition.

“If you’ve got a person dealing with paranoia and post-traumatic stress and you’ve got bomb squads and people are throwing phones through your window,” said his sister, “obviously you’re going to go into a combat mode. Wouldn’t you think? And that’s what happened.”

Training the Portsmouth police better could have avoided this situation from escalating to the point that a man was killed and two officers were wounded (likely from friendly fire). Police Chief Ed Hargis has been named in the suit. He has since “retired” from Portsmouth and is now the Police Chief in Frederick Maryland. Interestingly in Frederick he has implemented the very programs that could have saved Marshall’s life.


The family is suing for $1.5 million claiming the former Police Chief Ed Hargis and his officers are responsible for Marshall’s death and they were negligent in handling someone with mental illness. “I would like for them to admit that they were wrong and they didn’t follow policies or procedures in this matter,” Yvonne said.

It will be up to a jury to decide the final outcome.

Here is a statement from the family:

“First of all, we are thankful to God that the injuries of the two police officers were not life threatening.  However, this incident demonstrates the lack of training and knowledge that the police officers have with working with the mentally ill population and those individuals who suffer with issues of post-traumatic stress syndrome after serving in the Vietnam War and military forces.  A mental health evaluation was requested to seek assistance with getting our brother back on his medication.  This matter was taken from a mental health screening request to a criminal matter before any shots were fired or any officers were injured.  His rights were violated, because he was at his home and he entered his property, which was his right.  No petition had been filed with the magistrate at this time; therefore, the police should have left the scene until a family member could have invited mental health evaluators into the home to complete the assessment.  Officers would not permit family members, i.e., hisuncle who lives several houses down or his son who was on site at the time to talk with him to deescalate the matter.  Instead the Portsmouth Police Department called 55 additional police officers, swat team, snipers, bomb squad, and military to handle one 60 year old man (soon to be 61 had he reached his birthday on March 5) suffering with paranoia and post traumatic stress syndrome.  Police surrounded the home and invaded him causing him to go into a combat mode due to feeling the need to protect himself .  Even after his death, family members were not notified by the Portsmouth Police Department even though detectives were stationed outside of nearby family member’s home where family was gathered.  We were notified by the local news and family and friends calling to express condolences.  This indeed is a tragedy for our mental health system especially following the incidents that occurred at Virginia Tech when people did not respond to warning signs and the need for a mental health evaluation.  Mental illness and post traumatic stress syndrome affects many if not most families.  We pray that this incident will not prevent other families from seeking mental health evaluations for fear that it will result in the death of the family member.  He could have been your brother, father, uncle, nephew, grandfather or maybe just your neighbor.  He was a hunter, artist, skilled craftsmen, builder, and a member and usher of the Garden of Prayer Temple #4 in Portsmouth.  We plan to seek assistance from our Regional Mental Health Advocate and the Virginia Office of State Protection and Advocacy.  We are also seeking any attorney who will assist the family with resolving this matter.  We would like to thank the community for your prayers and your support during this difficult time.”

And finally this report done by Wavy 10, a local station here in Southeast Virginia.

My Clean Eating interview with Foody Direct

I was contacted by Foody Direct, and asked if they could interview me for their blog. I was honored and of course I said yes!

Here is the link to the Interview and I have cut and pasted the interview here for you all to read.


carol-1-webPhoto by Leila Alexander Portraits

Carol Rood is a 20-year Navy vet who has a unique and interesting viewpoint on life, kids, food, LGBTQ issues, and why we all need a great beauty regimen. We recently sat down with Carol to hear her thoughts on food, cooking, and clean eating.

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you decide to start a blog?

My blogging story started in 2008. I had a friend who was blogging and I thought to myself, “This is interesting, I think I can do this too.” She encouraged me to give it a try and participate in NaBloPoMo, which stands for National Blog Posting Month. It is a challenge where you write a blog post every day for a month. I gave it a shot, and I was hooked! This is how Coffee, Clutter and Chaos was born. I wrote my first post on CCC in October 2012, and haven’t looked back since! Four years later, I still love blogging!

How did you become a foodie?

I think I have always been a “foodie,” although I didn’t always use that term. When I was a kid, I loved to cook and bake, and the Cooking Merit Badge was my favorite one when I was a Girl Scout. The major requirement to complete the badge was to cook a meal for your entire family. Since I am an overachiever, I had my parents also invite my aunt, uncle, and two cousins for the meal. That meant I was preparing a meal for 9 people! No sweat, right? I made Italian fondue complete with cubed Italian bread, Mediterranean salad, and a three-layer Black Forest cake for dessert. And it was delicious! Not bad for a 13-year old, eh?

As I entered my later teen years, when I told my dad I wanted to be a chef, he kept telling me how hard it would be and the heavy pots I would have to lift. I guess he had other career plans for me; however, my love for food, cooking, and baking didn’t go away. I ended up not going to cooking school, but I have definitely taught myself how to cook and bake. These days, I really enjoy watching the Food Network to get ideas for new recipes and what to do (and not to do) when in the kitchen.

What is clean eating, and how does it differ from the general healthy eating advice that we frequently hear today?

Clean eating is definitely the “phrase of the day” in the food world. However, to me it just means switching processed food for fresh food and eating more fruits and vegetables. We don’t eat “white” foods, and by that I mean foods made with white unbleached flour. In our house, we usually eat brown rice pasta, multigrain bread, and other foods made with the whole grain and not bleached or processed to make it less healthy.

Clean eating is about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups – and eating less of the not so healthy ones. In addition to swapping out some ingredients and food choices, we no longer eat “fake sugar” like Equal and Truvia, but instead eat pure cane sugar or stevia. We have removed almost all of the processed foods from our diet, and we shop, prepare, and eat differently than we did a few years ago.

Interestingly, even the USDA has made changes to their recommended daily allowances of food. They switched from the food pyramid, which had the bulk of your food coming from grains, to “my plate,” which stresses fruits and vegetables as the major portion of your food intake.

How difficult is it to prepare delicious, healthy meals for your family while navigating individual tastes, preferences, and food quirks?

When my kids wee younger, I definitely shopped, cooked, and fed my family differently than I do now. My boys are now 19 and 17, and my step kids are all grown up and no longer live at home. When the kids were little, I did sometimes make two separate meals; one for them and one for the grownups. But as they have grown and their palates have changed, that became less and less frequent.

Several years ago, I did make a house rule that if you don’t like what mom cooks for dinner, you can have a PB&J sandwich. It just became too complicated to make different meals for different tastes and quirks, and it was either what was on the menu or you had to eat peanut butter. It was even easier on me as the kids got older and were able to make their own sandwiches, but really they usually ate what I made. It was not often they fended for themselves. Even now they still ask, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” They have rolled with me switching from white pasta to whole-wheat pasta and now to brown rice pasta. They like the brown rice pasta better than the whole wheat, but they still ate the whole-wheat pasta. I guess they think it is easier to eat what I make than to make their own food.

I will say, though, that it is harder to make sure they are eating well now because they can literally get in their vehicles and drive to a fast food joint and get any junk they want. So the best thing I can do is have healthy choices here at the house and make what they like in a cleaner way -and I STILL sneak veggies in when they don’t know it.

Finish this sentence: “The hardest food for me to give up would have to be…”

That is an interesting question and definitely the answer today is different than it would have been a few months ago.

Recently, I participated in a 30 Days to Healthy Living detox program, which changed some of my perceptions about what I was eating and how it made my body feel. It is a program that removes allergenic and acidic foods from our diets, and it was definitely interesting. I had to remove gluten, sugar, ground nuts, coffee, dairy, high sugar fruits, and a few other things. I thought I would die without my cup of coffee every morning! And no cheese??? What??

But I did it (I cheated once or twice, though), and I survived. I did miss cheese, but I found a dairy-free, soy-free substitute that tastes good and actually melts!! In fact, I have kept some of those foods (such as cow milk) out of my life since then because when I added them back in, I didn’t feel well. It was interesting to learn what my body likes best by removing some foods and seeing how I felt when I added them back in.

So if I had to live without a food forever that would be really hard to give up, it would most definitely be bread. I don’t have to give that up now because I have found some really delicious gluten-free breads, and I am going to try to make my own GF bread in the near future. But my life without sandwiches, paninis, gooey melty cheese on bread, or just a nice piece of bread and butter – that would be absolute torture!

OK, can you really cook or bake desserts that are tasty and healthy?

Yes, I can! Years ago, I started substituting Truvia baking blend for sugar and used applesauce in place of oil. That never interfered in the way things tasted. Subbing white whole wheat flour for white flour, however, did make a difference in that the baked goods were denser. So I learned what types of baked goods that substitution worked best with. For example, cake or cobbler dough might not be as yummy when it is dense, but I can definitely sub white whole wheat flour into cookies and brownies without any noticeable difference.

In the past year as I have removed man-made sugar substitutes from my diet, I have actually gone back to cane sugar and even found a stevia cooking blend that keeps the taste while removing some calories and sugar grams from baked goods. I have even found some recipes where I can sub in some vegan protein powder for some of the flour, and add some protein to baked goods without taking away ANY of the yummy flavor you want in baked goods!

And more recently, I have been baking with GF flour mixes. I have used a couple of different ones and definitely have my favorite, but the adventurer in me is really hankering to create my OWN GF flour blend that is one for one with regular flour.

Could you share one of your favorite foodie recipes with us?

Honestly, I have so many it is hard to narrow down to one; but I am really a fan of Indian food. When I found a recipe for baked Indian Samosas, I was intrigued for sure. They tasted even better than the ones I got at the restaurants, and were way healthier because 1) they were baked not fried, 2) I used white whole wheat flour in place of the white flour, making them healthier, and 3) when you make something at home, my favorite ingredient – LOVE – always makes things taste better!


For the filling
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
• ½ teaspoon minced ginger
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 Russet potatoes – boiled and coarsely mashed
• ½ cup peas (thawed frozen works best)
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• 1 teaspoon coriander
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• ½ teaspoon chili sauce
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

Homemade Samosa Pastry
• 1 cup white whole wheat flour
• ¼ cup fat-free yogurt (or water)
• ¼ cup vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
• Big pinch salt


  1. In a saute pan, add a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is shimmering, add in the cumin seeds and ginger.
  2. When the seeds splutter, add the onions and saute till soft and translucent. When the onions are cooked, add in salt, turmeric, coriander, and garam masala. Add in the chili sauce. Saute briefly for a minute or so.
  3. Add in the boiled potatoes and peas and mix well.
  4. Add the chopped coriander leaves/cilantro. Remove from heat, and when the mixture is cool enough to handle, make 8 balls. Set aside.
  5. Roll the dough into a cylinder, cut in half, and then again into 4 pieces. Roll them into a ball. Flatten the balls into circles; then, on a floured surface, roll them into a 1/8-inch thick, 7-inch wide circles. Cut in half to form 2 semicircles.
  6. Put the filling in the center of a semicircle. Have a small bowl of water handy. Dip your finger in the water and run it along the edges of the semicircle. Arrange the samosas so the flat side is facing away from you. Grab the right corner and fold it over the dough in a triangular motion, so that this corner lands on the bottom left side of the filling. Do the same with the other corner. Squeeze bottom shut, and fold over, sealing with water. If you like, seal using a fork.
  7. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Arrange the 8 samosas on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk an egg and 1 teaspoon water with a fork until thoroughly combined. Brush the tops of the samosas with the egg wash.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then turn heat down to 375 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes. You can flip them over just before you turn the heat down if you like.

There are plenty of bakery and dessert items available on the Foody Direct website, so check them out today!