In 2014, after 12 years of stellar service to our country as a U.S. Marine Corps Raider, Staff Sergeant Michael Bloch, a highly decorated combat veteran, left active duty with an Honorable Discharge. Even after leaving active duty, Bloch continued service as an Intelligence Contractor with the elite Joint Special Operations Command for seven years before starting EBS, a Defense Contracting Company.
A year after his separation, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determined that Bloch was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a result of trauma he experienced during his multiple combat tours.
To help address his challenges related to these issues, Bloch was prescribed a medication called ‘Nuvigil.’
Medical examiners have identified severe negative side-effects related to taking this drug which can contribute to adverse mental health effects including hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
Additionally, ‘Nuvigil’ is not meant to be prescribed for more than one year.
Unfortunately, the VA had been prescribing ‘Nuvigil’ to Bloch for more than four and a half (4.5) years, and not surprisingly, as a result, Bloch had a psychotic episode.
On February 15, 2022, Bloch was on his way to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for a business meeting on behalf of a company he founded when he suffered a mental breakdown.
It was brought on by a combination of high-stress, lack of sleep, and ‘Nuvigil.’
As he drove into town, Bloch became disoriented. He has no personal memories of what happened next. He can only recount what happened based upon what he has heard from others, accounts he has read by eyewitnesses, and that which he has seen on video from security/surveillance cameras.
From what has been reported, after Bloch met a friend and former teammate who was going to drive Bloch on base for his business meeting, Bloch’s mental condition rapidly deteriorated.
Bloch began to rant angrily before storming off in the same vehicle in which he had just arrived.
When Bloch reached the outskirts of town, he pulled off to the side of the road in a rural parking lot, began shouting and acting erratically, and then pulled out his personal pistol and began firing it.
Although no one was harmed, he did hit two occupied vehicles, the side of a mobile home, and finally his own vehicle.
Mentally and physically, his actions were inconsistent with the countless hours of muscle-memory training and real-world weapons experience he had as a Marine Corps Raider/Critical Skills Operator (CSO).
He then departed for home in his vehicle until the vehicle suddenly stopped running.
Bloch was able to make contact with a friend who picked him up and stayed with him until Bloch’s wife could arrive.
When Bloch’s wife arrived, neither she nor Bloch’s friend were aware of Bloch’s actions earlier in the day with his pistol nor that Bloch had committed a crime, although they did realize that Bloch needed VA treatment immediately for his mental breakdown.
Shortly thereafter, Bloch was contacted by law enforcement.
They requested that Bloch travel back to North Carolina to speak with them.
Bloch was amenable and requested the meeting be scheduled for the following Monday. The detective said that would be fine.
However, instead of honoring the pre-scheduled meeting, the police issued a warrant for Bloch’s arrest…as a felon fugitive.
Bloch was arrested and spent several weeks in a Virginia jail before he was extradited to North Carolina where his family was able to raise enough money to post his $15,000 bail.
Of note, during Bloch’s shooting incident, he did not injure anyone, and those whose property was damaged and who the prosecutor has identified as “victims,” have submitted written statements specifically requesting Bloch NOT to be prosecuted.
Despite all that, Bloch has been charged with two felonies for discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, a misdemeanor for discharging a firearm in proximity to a structure in city limits, and a misdemeanor for property damage in excess of $200.
To date, Bloch’s family has paid thousands of dollars out of their own pockets for bail and legal defense, which will elevate into tens of thousands if not more should Bloch’s case go to trial.
Due to the fact that Bloch self-reported this incident to the Department of Defense, his security clearance has been revoked pending adjudication of his case. As such, Bloch is presently unemployed and is unable to find meaningful work commensurate with his training, education, and experience.
Most disturbingly, North Carolina’s State District Attorney intends to prosecute Bloch in a criminal proceeding as opposed to allowing Bloch access to the state’s Veterans Treatment Court, which has stated its readiness and willingness to provide Bloch with their full cadre of services.
Veterans Treatment Courts effectively support state efforts to integrate evidence-based substance use disorder treatment, mandatory drug testing, incentives, sanctions, and recovery support services in judicially supervised court settings which have jurisdiction over veterans involved in the justice system who have substance use disorders, including a history of violence and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their military service.
On May 11, 2023, UAP’s Board of Directors accepted Bloch’s request for support with the intent to ensure Bloch gains access to the Veterans Treatment Court and that he has the ability to fund his legal defense in a criminal court.
Your financial support is critical to our success, and most importantly, the success of our Warriors like Michael Bloch!
TO DONATE IN SUPPORT OF SSGT MICHAEL BLOCH
You can also make an impact by contacting District Attorney Ernie Lee to request the transfer of Staff Sergeant Bloch’s case to the Veterans Court.
Let’s ensure a trusted veteran receives the treatment he needs and deserves, rather than facing unnecessary prosecution.
DA Ernie Lee Fifth Prosecutorial District, North Carolina
Phone: (910) 478-3610