Private Cody Wayne Young, born June of 1991, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, beloved son to Gerald and Angie Young. Cody played both offense and defense in football for Edison High School and graduated in 2009.
Cody joined the National Guard on June 11, 2009 on his 18th Birthday and was deployed to Afghanistan, in June of 2011 and returned in January of 2012. He had his first Post-Traumatic Stress episode before the end of that month. Over the next year and a half, Cody’s episodes became more severe and frequent. Young’s family told the Tulsa World they had attempted to get him help over the years and that he had tried to get help for himself, as well. Ultimately, he said no one understood him, that the help he needed wasn’t available.
On May 21, 2014, PVT Cody Wayne Young, was shot and killed by Tulsa police while suffering through a Post-Traumatic Stress episode. He was 22 years old.
At his funeral on Tuesday, Pastor Terry Rush said Young had suffered a brain injury during an attack on his Humvee while in Afghanistan. He returned to service, was eventually discharged and came home a changed person, although some of that old “Whiskey Wayne” remained, friends said.
“You could see, just by the people who are here today and how many people are here today, the kind of person he was,” said Preston Wilson, who attended Edison High School with Young and said he saw him just two days before he died.
“Everybody loved him,” Wilson said. “He always just wanted to be around people. That’s the kind of guy he was. People just wanted to be around him.”
Pictures of Young at the funeral displayed that personality. In the pictures, Young, shirtless, with a grenade tattooed on his chest, was almost always seen with a smile on his face and his arms wrapped around friends.
Wilson said he could tell Young was different when he returned from Afghanistan, but he said he had no idea just how strong the demons Young faced were.
“On May 20, 2014 my son Cody Young came to my house and we had a conversation. Cody was in a wonderful mood telling me he was going to eat dinner with friends. He gave me a big hug and kiss and told me he loved me. I told him to have fun but be careful as any mother would have done. I remember in the early morning hours of May 21,2014 my news alerts on my phone started going off that there was a stand off with an active shooter at 11th and Rockford. My heart sank and panic set in because that is where Cody’s apartment was. Immediately I started texting and calling but he wasn’t answering. Then for a few hours the news had gotten quiet. Terrified it was Cody I went to his apartment where I was met by Detective Brown. The TPD Chaplain and Detective Walker had gone to my house to deliver the devastating news but had passed me in transit. Detective Brown asked me my name and my sons name. He did confirm my son was killed. Detective Brown very compassionately had told me what had happened. I then told him Cody had been in Afghanistan and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and suffered from PTSD and was having severe flash backs after returning home. Detective Brown excused him self and had the TPD Chaplain and another officer to stay with me to console me. I had refused to leave the scene until the coroner had removed Cody’s body from his apartment.Detective Brown had gone to the apartment and front of the building where the other officers were including Officer Gene Hogan who had fired the shot that ended my sons life. Word had gotten back to me the raw emotions and regret of the officers. They had no idea Cody was a veteran fighting the demons in him from his PTSD. At first I was mad, sad, vengeful wondering how this could happen. Then some kind of peace came over me. I put myself in there shoes. How were they suppose to know the circumstances going on in Cody’s head ? How were they to know he had PTSD and was having a flash back of God only knows? The Tulsa Police Department showed my family great respect and compassion in helping us understand what happened. Anytime we had any questions Detective Brown and Detective Walker were there for us. Cody’s toxicology report came back with zero drugs in his system. With PTSD you just don’t know what the person is thinking. The officers had no idea but since that day 3 years ago It’s my understanding officers are prepared to handle situations like Cody’s. Tulsa Police Department I do not fault you what happened! Your officers were doing there jobs!
Now to get on my soap box! Statistically young white men lose their lives to police officers more often than young black men and the public doesn’t have protest or tantrums.( By the way Detective Brown is an African American man and a fine officer) This is not a race issue but maybe a mental health issue among these young people of all races getting killed.
I have never showed any hate for the Tulsa Police Department. Officer Gene Hogan I have forgiven you and pray for you everyday. You have to live with that everyday of your life. I just cannot imagine. You did your job plain and simple, Working in the ER for almost 10 years I have seen patients on PCP. These patients are impossible to take care of with their super human strength. Some of you people have no idea what it’s like! Patients with PTSD and having flash backs are also hard to get a handle on because they usually think you are the enemy and want to kill you. The people of Tulsa we have to take care of our own with Behavioral Health issues, Now as far as all of all these Black Lives Matters Protest we are all God’s Children. Color should not matter if you are a child of god simple as that !