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MAGNA — Carolyn Hunger says Louis Gregg has threatened her and her family for years, including threats on their lives.
But despite the problems he has caused for her family, she is still an advocate for Gregg. She finds no satisfaction in what happened to him Thursday.
Honestly, this should not have happened. The system failed this man. He needed help a long time ago.
Hunger was in tears Friday as she talked about how police officers were forced to shoot Gregg, her next-door neighbor.
"Honestly, this should not have happened. The system failed this man. He needed help a long time ago," she said. "I care about Louis. I care deeply about him. He has an illness just as real as cancer, just as real as any chronic illness you can have. It has caused him to lose everyone and everything he's ever cared about. He is alone in the world.
"It's absolutely asinine any of this has happened," she said.
On Thursday, Gregg was shot twice by two Unified police officers after they say he came at them with a metal pipe. One officer deployed his Taser and another fired his gun. Gregg was hit twice. He was taken to University Hospital in extremely critical condition. After receiving treatment, however, he was released from the hospital late Friday.
Hunger explains problems family had with Gregg
Hunger and Gregg have been neighbors since her family moved into their current home, near 2700 South and 8350 West, in 2007.
Right away, her children, who range today from ages 14 to 1, learned from some of the neighborhood children about "Screwy Louis."
"I pulled my kids together and told them, 'He is a son of God. He is a man. You will not ever refer to him in the house or forever as Screwy Louis.' Before he became ill he had ability. He is a man. A valuable human being," Hunger said.
Despite her advocacy for Gregg, she said he has caused numerous problems.
"On a daily basis he would threaten to kill me, my husband ..." Hunger said. "For some reason, when we moved in, he projected that paranoia on our family."
At one point, Gregg came after her husband with a crowbar, Hunger said. On another occasion he accused her husband of making clones of Gregg. On yet another occasion, she said he asked another neighbor for a pain reliever because her husband had "crucified" him.
"It wasn't amusing. At that point it was almost like, 'Wow, this guy really has a problem,'" she said.
Stalking injunction filed against Gregg
In August of 2009, Carolyn Hunger filed for a stalking injunction against her neighbor — something that was granted and has been in place ever since.
"Louis has threatened to kill my family on several occasions," she said in her petition for an injunction. "He has stopped cars in the street and asked the occupants to 'help me take care of those PIMPS over here.'
"It has really affected my family as well as this poor man and his family. His son is just torn up," she said. "My heart breaks for him. I don't think he's ever felt peace his entire life." --Carolyn Hunger
"My children are afraid to go to sleep at night, they are afraid to go outside and play, I am fearful of going outside or even getting into my car," Hunger said in documents filed in 3rd District Court.
In her injunction, Hunger said Gregg was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
"He, at this point, is projecting ALL of his paranoia on my family and it HAS TO STOP!" she wrote in capital letters.
The same day the injunction was issued, Gregg violated the order and was arrested, according to court records. In January 2009, Gregg's wife filed for divorce.
"When his wife left ... he kind of lost it at that point," Hunger said.
Gregg's history with police
Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said officers have dealt with Gregg on numerous occasions. Many of those were to investigate reports of "psychiatric problems." Hunger said each time he was arrested for violating the stalking injunction, he would be held for 72 hours, released and come back "more violent" than before.
Hunger, however, does not place any blame on police officers for Gregg's situation, and in fact had high compliments for the professionalism they exhibited while handing Thursday's shooting.
Until recently, Gregg had actually been "really quiet" and had not talked to her family for a long time, she said.
On one occasion he accused her husband of making clones of Gregg. On yet another occasion, she said he asked another neighbor for a pain reliever because her husband had "crucified" him.
But on June 16, Gregg threatened another neighbor with a sledge hammer and a "large Bowie knife," court records state. He was charged with aggravated assault and a warrant was issued for his arrest Tuesday for failing to show up to court.
What led up to Thursday's shooting
On Thursday, some of Hunger's children were outside in the driveway when they say Gregg came to his window, extremely agitated.
"My kids know not to look or talk to him. Louis came to his window, and he was extremely agitated. Just screaming, 'I'm going to (expletive) you up.'"
The children went inside and told their mother. She went out and assessed the situation. She saw Gregg pacing back and forth, pounding his chest and screaming profanities, she said.
Hunger called police to tell them he had violated the stalking injunction again. When officers arrived, Gregg remained "extremely agitated" as police made sure both the front and back doors were covered.
"He was kind of like a caged animal in the house," she said. "It's never escalated to this point before."
As the situation became more tense, an officer turned to Hunger and motioned to her to get into the house. Hunger made sure all of her children were out of harm's way. Just as she reached for the phone to call her husband, she heard the first shot. Before she could reach the doorway to see what had happened, she heard the second shot.
"My heart just stopped," Hunger said.
Gregg was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Friday for investigation of two counts of aggravated assault on police officers, three counts of threats against life or property, violating a stalking injunction and resisting arrest.
For Hunger, she said it is an all-around tragic situation.
"It has really affected my family as well as this poor man and his family. His son is just torn up," she said. "My heart breaks for him. I don't think he's ever felt peace his entire life."