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Times coverage: Iraq vet killed by police was in tailspin

On March 20, Stephen Bours, a 30-year-old white man, was shot and killed by police while walking down a street in Downey carrying a hatchet.

After his death, Homicide Report readers left posts describing Bours as an Iraq war veteran who had been shattered by his experiences overseas.

In a story in Sunday's Los Angeles Times, staff writer Sam Quinones details Bours' sad journey from married father of two to drug addict who witnesses said advanced on Downey police officers with his hatchet raised.

An excerpt from Sunday's story follows:

Gerry Chicorelli was driving north on Paramount Boulevard in Downey in late March when he spotted a man holding a hatchet and walking into southbound traffic.

The man had a glazed look. Drivers braked and yelled at him, peeling away as they spotted the raised hatchet in his hands.

Chicorelli realized he knew the man.

It was Steve Bours, a handsome kid who'd once worked for him in his roofing business.

Bours, 30, had joined the Army Reserve and was sent to Iraq in 2004 with a supply unit based near Fallouja, site of the war's most brutal battle.

Chicorelli was the third or fourth to call 911. As he slowed his car to a crawl, he watched Bours march, hatchet raised, into traffic for what would be the last hundred yards of his life.

The whole time, Chicorelli recalled, "he never said a word."

Read more: Iraq vet killed by police was in a tailspin

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