Brandon Marshall was an accomplished quality assurance engineer who helped exposed the illegal anti-poaching practices of some of Silicon Valley's biggest firms. But he also suffered from mental health issues. And according to an investigation by the San Jose Mercury News, the Roku engineer was experiencing a mental health episode last December before local sheriffs shot him dead.

Witnesses say that a "frazzled" Marshall called his father to pick him from Roku's offices and chewed a half dozen prescription pills "like Pez." He then went out to the parking lot, where he was soon intercepted by first responders who were called after co-workers feared Marshall was going to overdose:

Described by firefighters as acting "manic," Marshall nonetheless began negotiating with paramedics, who were on the phone with Marshall's father when Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies Kristin Anderson and Aldo Groba arrived.

A wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Marshall's family says that when Anderson approached him from behind, Marshall swung a key fob at her, described as a short, rounded aluminum rod. Groba, a 14-year veteran, then shot Marshall in the stomach.

Over the phone with the paramedics, Marshall's father, Steven Marshall, heard his son cry out in pain. Within a few hours, the engineer died at Valley Medical Center.

Immediately following the December shooting, the sheriff's department described the situation quite differently to the Mercury News:

When deputies arrived, they began talking to Brandon Marshall, who "suddenly became agitated," pulled out a 5½-inch metal spike and attacked one of the deputies, Stenderup said in a news release Friday.

The deputy, Stenderup said, was hit with the spike and feared for his life, so he fired his gun. Marshall was hit in the chest but continued to fight with officers as they restrained him, Stenderup added.

Questions remain if his position in tech made him unbalanced. Marshall worked at Adobe for six months in 2006, witnessing the anti-competitive collusion that lead him to be a plaintiff in the wage-fixing lawsuit against the likes of Adobe, Google, and Apple. But, according to the New York Times, his position in the suit was causing him issues:

Michael Devine, another of the class representatives, said in an interview that Mr. Marshall had argued with people on social media about the case. "You know how nasty and abusive folks get in online comments," Mr. Devine said. "It apparently really hurt him."

Many things remain unknown about the shooting. Police reports and the pictures of the key fob used to allegedly attack the sheriff's deputy have not be released, the Mercury News reports. But an attorney for the family says justice needs to be served: "These cops gunned him down when he needed help. The paramedics were working with him and his father. Just to be gunned down like that, it's just wrong."

Photo: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department