A friend and fellow soldier of the Fort Carson specialist shot to death by Fountain police this week said the specialist had post-traumatic stress disorder that could have been made worse by alcohol and personal problems.
Victor Vivanco-Sosa, 25, lives in Weld County and works in the Denver area. He said he and Jonathan Clark -- both New York natives -- met while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and served in the same unit at Fort Carson until Vivanco-Sosa left the Army last fall.
"I haven't seen him since then," said Vivanco-Sosa. "We kept in touch online occasionally. I knew he had PTSD but never thought he would do 'suicide by cop,' if that's what really happened."
Vivanco-Sosa said he wasn't aware of reports that Clark threatened suicide before the shooting on Veterans'Day evening or that a female friend ran from Clark's car after she tried to get help for him during an anxiety attack he was having.
"I'm still trying to accept the fact that this is what happened," said Vivanco-Sosa. "He was a very outgoing guy, a very funny guy. He was always trying to make people laugh. He was a joker. But he did his job."
Vivanco-Sosa said Clark may have been reluctant to seek help for his PTSD because of a persistent, negative perception among soldiers about seeking help for emotional and behavioral issues.
"When you're holding all that stuff inside you -- and you're not getting the help, you're not addressing it -- there's going to come a breaking point," he said.
Vivanco-Sosa's best memory of Clark is as an Army mechanic with a sense of humor who loved his Jeep.
Clark leaves behind his wife and 1-year-old son. Vivanco-Sosa said he and other friends plan to visit her soon to help her any way they can.