Cory Simmons, Brian Simmons’ older brother, will forever have two dates stuck in his mind: Nov. 8, 2011, the date of Brian’s exposure to weapons-grade plutonium at the Idaho National Laboratory, which likely led to mental-health struggles for the rest of Brian’s life, and Aug. 29, 2022, the day Brian was shot and killed during an interaction with Maricopa Police.

To Cory and the Simmons family, both represent days that Brian died.

“That’s what sucks about this whole deal,” Cory said. “My best friend’s gone and it didn’t need to happen this way.”

Cory has two major problems with how things went with Brian. The first: ineffectual laws concerning mental health, which prevented him from getting his brother help. The second: how the interaction with his brother was handled on the day of the shooting by Maricopa police.

“If you watch that video of what they did to him, they didn’t need to do that,” Cory said. “They shot him with the bean bags. They pulled that trigger first when he was walking back into his house, not obeying their orders, and he told them to ‘Screw off, I’m on my own property.’

“I know my brother. He’s not a violent person. He would never try to kill anyone.”

SWAT Truck
A Casa Grande Police SWAT vehicle departs the scene of an incident. [InMaricopa]
Hal Simmons, Brian’s father, believed that Brian was trying to respond to police with proportional force after they had hit him with the bean bag before he went inside for the shotgun.

“In my way of thinking, he felt like, ‘You shot me with bean bags, I’ll shoot you with birdshot clear across the road, which won’t hurt you, but I’m trying to get your attention,” Hal said.

Officers, of course, had no way of knowing what Brian was shooting at them. They believed that they were in danger.

Cory said he was told that the point of the bean bags was to make a forceful point but not kill.

“It caused blood, because I cleaned it out of his house,” Cory said. “And in that situation, with all those police around, he would have never known that they weren’t trying to kill him.”

There was a lot that led up to that final day. Two weeks earlier, Cory had arranged with Maricopa Police for a mental-health visit for Brian. Cory said in the end it was a complete waste of time.

PCSO SWAT members assist MPD officers with shooting incident in neighborhood immediately west of Butterfield Elementary School. [Bryan Mordt]
“They called me back and said,’We can’t really tell you a lot because of HIPAA, but (while he was) there he didn’t display anything that could allow us to arrest him to get him in to get him some help.’“

Hal said he grew tired of hearing about HIPAA.

“They kept telling me that they couldn’t tell me what was going on because of HIPAA laws,” Hal said. “Screw HIPAA, and tell me what’s wrong so we can get Brian some help, but they never would.”

There was a line of communication between Cory and the Maricopa Police Department that continued.

“On August 27th when they called me and asked me if I was coming to pick him up, they said he was running in and out of traffic swinging a shirt off around and they basically had Tased him,” Cory said.

“Those cops knew what was going on. They knew exactly that he was not in a good piece of mind. We explained to them that Brian had had a horrible uptake of plutonium and americium and that there was something going on, but it just didn’t work.

“I told them, begged them, not to shoot him, and so did my dad.”

Hal said that another frustrating part of the ordeal was how he learned of his son’s death.

“The way we found out that my son was dead was through social media,” Hal said. “My daughter and her husband come down to my yard around 4 p.m. As soon as they walk in, my son-in-law goes to say something and I told him, ‘Don’t you tell me this.’ I didn’t want to hear it. I knew what had happened.

“Later that evening, I got a call at 8:35 our time, with the sergeant on the other end telling me that my son had been fatally shot and I told him I learned about it four and a half hours ago.”

Friday: Maricopa Police discuss their handling of the Brian Simmons incident.