Suicide-By-Cop And Neighborhood House Fire: Police Response Averts Twofold Tragedy
POMONA – Suicide-by-cop thankfully did not occur in Pomona recently. A two-fold nightmare erupted on the 1600 block of S. Huntington Avenue on the evening of September 21st. Alarming the neighborhood and law enforcement alike, a “Suicide-By-Cop” scenario began. Not often discussed, this is the cause of more than 10% of officer-involved shootings.
First of all, PD Dispatch immediately deployed officers to the scene of the call that immediately disconnected operator assistance. Several more redirected 911 calls from frightened neighbors alerted Dispatch to a house fire at the suicide-call location.
The caller, with slit wrists, met arriving officers in the middle of the street. “The subject fled on foot,” reported Pomona PD, “and was quickly and safely detained by officers.”
Next, LACFD responded and extinguished the house fire. They treated the anonymous man’s wounds before transporting him to a local hospital for treatment and evaluation.
Unfortunately, researchers conclude that suicide-by-cop is surprisingly common and the number of incidents is rising.
Suicide-by-cop is a dangerous, unpredictable situation whereby a suspect beckons officers to the scene. Lives are in jeopardy, causing possible long-term consequences.
FBI reports state, as officers cope with both short- and long-term psychological effects of suicide-by-cop, these impact an officer’s sense of self, family life, interpersonal relationships, and job functions. The officer’s perception and perception of family members have been analyzed in studies by the FBI and support organizations.
Some suicidal callers brandish a weapon – often found later to be a replica – with the goal to have officers end the situation with tragic gunfire.
Similarly, subjects often leave a suicide note, apologizing to the officer. Deep sadness and lasting post-traumatic stress result.
Situations compelling someone to call in this type of life-ending scenario vary with reasons often fueled by a fragile mental state and prescribed or self-prescribed drugs.
Suicide-by-cop incidents are extremely dangerous to police officers. They never know whether the individual who wants to die, but not kill themselves, will try to kill officers as well. Statistics show:
- Depression is the number-one cause for suicide;
- 98% of the callers were male;
- 39% had a history of domestic violence;
- Many abused alcohol and/or drugs;
- Many had a prior history of suicide attempts;
- Nearly 50% of weapons used were loaded;
- 17 % used a toy or replica gun.
As a result, suspects put themselves in a position where the police officer is forced to shoot them. Furthermore, some will point an empty gun at police, knowing that police will shoot back in self-defense.
Others have a loaded gun and will want to kill as many police officers as possible before they die.
Pomona PD concluded, “In this case, the home sustained minimal damage and fortunately there were no injuries to local residents, involved officers, or damage to neighboring homes.”