Before carjacking, state patrol veteran ‘begged’ Lincoln Police to arrest his son

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The father of a Lincoln man charged in a recent carjacking says it could have been prevented.

Kyle Christen, 30, was arrested Thursday.

Police say he threatened a woman with a knife at a Taco Bell drive-thru, then stole a car from two teens at Yogurtini.

His father, Chris, said he had tried to get Kyle taken into emergency protective custody.

“Sometimes with people with a mental illness, their attitudes can switch as fast as a finger snap,” said Chris, a Nebraska State Patrol veteran.

That’s exactly what Chris said happened the day before Kyle was arrested.

Chris said Kyle has had a long history of mental illness and substance abuse, even being incarcerated once before and hospitalized several times.

But he said Kyle was excited and was looking forward to a program that would help him work on his addiction.

The next morning, things changed.

Kyle took his grandmother’s car and purse, which had $300 in it, and he bought alcohol and a hammer.

Chris was not in Lincoln, so he called Kyle to ask what was going on.

“He was adamant that his phone had been tapped and that people were following him,” Chris said. “He told me, ‘I’m just not doing this anymore. I’m going to go. I’ve got my beer, and I’m going to get my meds. I’m going to take all my meds.'”

Chris said he called the Lincoln Police Department and asked police to take Kyle into emergency protective custody so he wouldn’t hurt himself or anyone else.

“When he gets like this, it doesn’t get better; it just gets worse, a little worse,” he said. “He’s circling the drain, and he goes down and down and down until there’s a crisis event, which is usually an overdose, a suicide attempt, something like that.”

He said after some time, Lincoln Police spoke with Kyle.

“And again, I’m begging and pleading with them, ‘Please get him to a hospital, get him before a mental health professional, have him evaluated,'” Chris said. “And he disagreed with me. He said, ‘Well, I just don’t think it meets criteria.'”

Chris said he also asked police to arrest Kyle for taking his grandmother’s car and her $300 just to get him to a safe place.

But he said police told him it wouldn’t help because Kyle could post his own bond and leave.

Chris has experience in this particular field.

He was in the patrol for around 30 years and was a crisis negotiator for around 20.

“What’s so frustrating is that the criteria is not black and white; there’s a lot of gray area there,” he said.

So Chris said the police let Kyle go.

Channel 8 reached out to LPD, but police said they can’t release information about mental health calls because of the nature of the situation.

So police were unable to confirm or deny that Chris had called to have his son taken into emergency protective custody.

The next day, Chris got the call that Kyle had been arrested.

“Thank God nobody got hurt,” Chris said. “Although, I’m sure there’s trauma for those victims. I am thankful that Kyle is somewhere safe now. And by no means am I condoning what he did.”

If you know someone going through a mental health crisis, you can call 988 to connect to the Suicide and Crisis Hotline.

For more resources, visit Bryan Health.

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