Savannah Walker's father advocates for better mental health trea - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Savannah Walker's father advocates for better mental health treatment following son's suicide

Nate, Deborah, Dean and Savannah Walker (Source: Family Photo) Nate, Deborah, Dean and Savannah Walker (Source: Family Photo)
Dean Walker (Source: Kasey Cunningham/WAVE 3 News) Dean Walker (Source: Kasey Cunningham/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville father is fighting for better access to mental health resources following his son's suicide last weekend.

Dean Walker has seen more than his share of tragedy and heartbreak this year.

On February 18, his wife, Deborah Walker, passed away from pancreatic cancer. 

Thirty days later, his daughter, Savannah Walker, was shot to death during a concert at Tim Faulkner Gallery in Portland.

"We were all grieving from her mom, and then when that hit it was brutal," Dean Walker said.

The two losses were unimaginable for Dean and his 28-year-old son, Nate Walker.

"Nate, who has struggled with mental health his whole life, really went into a deep depression," Dean explained. "And the inner rage in him really built because we weren't getting any answers as to what really happened at the gallery that night."

Right after Savannah's death, Nate told WAVE 3 News, "It's like a nightmare you can't wake up from."

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The pain of losing his mother and sister grew to be too much to bear. Last Friday night, Nate Walker ended his own life. 

"I can honestly say this was a major factor in him taking his own life," Nate's father said.

Dean Walker said his son was on a waiting list to get admitted to a Louisville drug and alcohol facility. 

"I mean, if my arm is broken, I get it taken care of that night," Dean said. "If my head is messed up, I have to wait four to six weeks to talk to somebody? That's wrong. I've got to do something about the fact that it takes so long to see a mental health professional in our community."

Walker said he's now living to defy the evil that killed his children. He will continue to fight for an end to gun violence. 

"Honestly, guns have been involved in both of my children's deaths," Dean said. "One in a murder and one in a suicide. You know the serenity prayer? I've kind of changed it around is what it comes down to. 'God grant me the courage to change the things I cannot accept ... and this is one of them."

Walker said Nate was an organ donor and he's received calls that his organs have been used to save several lives. 

Savannah Walker's case is still being investigated by the LMPD. If you have any information about the shooting on March 19 at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, call 574-LMPD (5673).

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