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Tulsa County DA calls for mental health funding after stabbing

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Matt Trotter
/
KWGS

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler is calling for more state funding for mental illness programs.

The district attorney spoke to a crowd of journalists Wednesday afternoon — the day after his daughter stabbed herself and then stabbed him at his south Tulsa home.

Kunzweiler said lawmakers need to address what he says seems to be an exploding mental health crisis for those living in Oklahoma.

"Many families like ours have endured years of anxious ridden concern for our affected loved ones," Kunzweiler said. "No one — no one wants to be mentally ill."

The Tulsa County DA described the 2015 stabbing death of Labor Commissioner Mark Costello as the state's first warning that laws and funding to support those with mental health issues needed to be addressed.

Kunzweiler called on state lawmakers to make solving the state's mental health crisis a priority and challenged them to reach out to those working in the mental health field to get their perspective on the issue.

"I will guarantee you that you will hear that a lot of work needs to be put in," Kunzweiler said. "Stop putting a band aid on a gaping wound."

Tulsa Police Captain Richard Meulenberg said the district attorney's daughter, Jennifer Kunzweiler, will likely face charges of domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon.

Officials said the Wagoner County District Attorney has been appointed to take the case.

Before making her way to Public Radio Tulsa, KWGS News Director Cassidy Mudd worked as an assignment editor and digital producer at a local news station. Her work has appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates across the country.