The man Bakersfield Police say lit his apartment on fire Sunday night and his family said he struggles with mental illness. Neil Lindo's family says he is the product of a system that failed to get him help.
Lindo's twin sister said Neil has struggled with mental illness since he was a teenager, diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in his 20's. His sister says his family saw this coming and tried to get help last week but were turned away.
Lindo says he doesn't remember doing anything illegal.
"Please exit your residence....and walk out the front door," said Bakersfield Police to Lindo through a loudspeaker Sunday night.
Police cars and officers with guns surrounded, 32-year-old Neil Lindo's apartment Sunday night after authorities said Lindo pepper-sprayed an officer and barricaded himself inside his home.
"Neil Lindo this is the Bakersfield Police Department," said police Sunday night.
Lindo remembers the night differently.
"There was about three or four members of a street gang came into my house about 8:30 last night," said Lindo at the Kern County Jail.
He says the gang members assaulted him.
"I was scared. My dog was scared. I was hurt," said Lindo.
Police say Lindo threatened them with a gun and lit his apartment on fire. But Lindo doesn't remember it that way.
He says an electrical problem started the fire.
"I suspect that the illegal gas heater that's in there. I suspect something went wrong with that," said Lindo.
Nor does Lindo remember that his 2-month-old pitbull named Bacardi died in the blaze.
"That I know for a fact didn't happen," said Lindo.
Lindo believes someone stole his dog. His twin sister however said these memories are Neil's delusions.
"I think he obviously had a psychotic break and it's hard for me to see him like that because he is so tormented," said Nellie Simpson, Lindo's twin sister.
She said last week Lindo stopped taking his medication and she tried to get her brother help but was turned away because under the law only Neil can ask for help.
"There should be a loophole," said Simpson. "There should be a time when you can obviously see that that person is not able to make competent decisions and that somebody else should be allowed to make those decisions."
Clinicians at the Mary K. Shell Mental Health Center said families with mentally ill relatives can contact the center and request a clinician check on their loved one. But the only way a mentally ill person can get treatment is if they admit themselves or like in this case are a threat to their safety.
"Families cannot intercede if the person is an adult," said Juanita Buck, a clinician at the Kern County Mental Health. "That's the law. So we are almost stuck between a rock and a hard place if the person is not willing to get care."