Piecing together a broken life


The Island is left trying to piece together the broken shards of the life of Jared Ravizza. 

Every corner of the community seems to be struggling to understand how the 26-year-old who washed ashore on Martha’s Vineyard ended up allegedly carrying out a spree of stabbings on the South Shore, and why police want to question him about a homicide in Connecticut. 

There are too many pieces missing to fully understand what happened. He was just yesterday ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial on the multiple felony charges he faces in connection with the attacks at a Braintree movie theater and a Plymouth McDonald’s that left six people wounded. 

At his plea hearing in Plymouth District Court, Dr. Kimberly Bistis, a forensic psychologist, told Judge Shelby Smith that Ravizza has an “active psychotic illness.” She said he has “serious delusions” that he was being controlled by “outside forces.” Smith ordered him held at Bridgewater without bail until the next hearing, on June 17. 

It remains unclear where exactly Ravizza was living on the Island, but it appears he was staying at 339 State Road in West Tisbury with his father. In April, police responded to a call there from his father, Jason Ravizza, a sports psychologist, at 2:40 am. The father told police that his son had assaulted him, according to records in Edgartown District Court. The officer at the scene stated, “Mr. Ravizza began screaming that he hopes his father dies, and began frothing out the mouth as he spoke.”

He was transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital (MVH) via cruiser for a mental health evaluation. At the hospital, a mental health professional determined that Ravizza failed to meet state standards for involuntary holding, and police arrived to arrest Ravizza as he was discharged. They then took him to the Dukes County Jail in Edgartown.

As our reporters learned, the police report said Ravizza’s father then declined an order of protection that was offered to him. A $500 bail was set for Jared Ravizza’s release. His arraignment was initially scheduled for April 19, but was rescheduled and then moved into pretrial diversion, a rehabilitation program that can include psychological services and counseling and lead to dismissal of charges. 

So did Ravizza fall through the cracks of a law enforcement system that has too few resources for mental health services? The level of mental health struggles, particularly among young people, has been surging in recent years, and has strained a mental healthcare system here on the Island and around the country. We as a community have to ask ourselves, What more could have been done to avoid his descent into a violent and possibly homicidal spree, if indeed he is charged in the Connecticut case? 

What we know for now is that nothing about Ravizza’s life really added up. He listed his address in one court document as 4 State Road, Chilmark, which is actually the Post Office. He is a self-described artist and a model who was working in Los Angeles. But the reality, it seems, was less glamorous, as he graduated from Agawam High School. Although some news reports say he spent a year at college, he told the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office that he only finished 12th grade. From there, he came to the Island amid COVID, and in 2021, this newspaper wrote a puff piece about his claims to run a charity. The piece failed to investigate any of his assertions, which now appear to be part of an elaborate façade of lies and half-truths that he had constructed, and which has all now come crashing down. The reporter who wrote it no longer works with the paper, but we know we will be more vigilant in checking stories, and being sure we do not accept a stranger’s tales on face value. 

There are many among us who encountered Ravizza who are now wondering how they could have missed all of the lies. Parents on the Island are tracing his path through frequent stops at a yoga studio, various coffee shops and nightclubs, and the public library in West Tisbury. They find themselves wondering how someone so unstable was left to be coursing through the community, teetering on violence. 

What we all need to ask ourselves now is, How can our community do a better job to spot those who are troubled, and be sure that appropriate medical services are offered to them in a timely fashion? If you know someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis, here is one place you can start to help:

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Enhanced Urgent Care Program provides urgent mental healthcare services, brief interventions, assessments, and swift access to services for both mental health and substance use disorders. It is open 8 am to 8 pm, Monday through Friday, and can be reached for same-day services at 508-693-7900, option 1. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital provides emergency mental health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at 508-693-0410. 


  1. How in the world did not meet the requirements for involuntary holding at the hospital? That seems a bit questionable to me.

    • this hospital and many others are very hesitant to section folks who clearly need the help. First hand experience talking. Same with judges, do we have to kill someone to get the help needed?

  2. Paranoid schizophrenia with delusions! The mental health official at MVH should lose their license or be reeducated, and/or the state mental health standards need to be revised. This type of psychotic behavior is illusive. If it were possible to review the history it should have been obvious the man was ill.

  3. How did we miss his lies? When media like the MVTimes writes ridiculous fluff pieces on “serial entrepreneurs” running a so called foundation, without doing any background investigation, it gives kooks like Ravizza credibility

  4. Jared’s father/counseler, friends, neighbors and community have all learned to believe that mentally ill individuals are special. This is not true. Society should not be forced to accept the consequences of this Alphabet soup. Our politicians, lawyers, governors, mayors and current president are encouraging this illegal, racist and destructive behavior. Ban child and adult mutilation, fund police, prosecute/jail criminals, protect the border, mass deportation of aliens and terrorists. Strengthen our economy. VOTE RED!

Comments are closed.