Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

The sadness of suicides

Was just reading Cathy's post below when the police scanners in the newsroom started screaming with activity, sirens and lots of voices. A woman just jumped from the Monroe Street Bridge, a block or two away from The Spokesman-Review building.

We only report suicides when it is done in a public manner, such as a bridge jump. But our scanners tell a bigger story. We often hear of police being called to a home where a person has killed himself or herself — and many, many calls of people attempting suicide.

As the CDC recently reported:

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are important public health concerns in the United States. In 2008, a total of 36,035 persons died as a result of suicide, and approximately 666,000 persons visited hospital emergency departments for nonfatal, self-inflicted injuries.

As children in Catholic school, we were taught to say the "Hail Mary" when we heard fire and ambulance sirens. I wonder, what is an appropriate response when you hear suicide attempts over the police scanner at work?

Body in Spokane River is missing man

Police have identified a body found in the Spokane River on Saturday as a mentally ill man who was reported missing last week.

The body of Patrick Willard, 66, was found under the Monroe Street Bridge on Saturday afternoon. Detectives are investigating, police said today.

Police last Tuesday asked for help in locating Willard, who suffered from dementia and schizophrenia, officers said.

He was last seen Dec. 7 in the 3400 block of East 30th Avenue.

Blowing Snow At 8 Below

Tristan Long, front, and Hayden Symbol with the City of Spokane Water Department, remove snow from the Monroe Street Bridge Tuesday in Spokane. Bitter cold is replacing the falling snow with temperatures forecasted to be minus 8 in Spokane Wednesday. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Colleague Colin Mulvany explains this shot: “This morning I was grumbling about my working conditions of having to go out in the bitter cold to find a snow feature photo. But seeing these two guys snow blowing bridge sidewalks made me rethink my plight. They were clearing the sidewalks in front of Spokane City Hall when I spotted them. Visually boring and not an interesting enough photo was my first thought. I soon realized the men were going to turn the corner and head over the Monroe Street Bridge. More here.

Question: Which job performed by someone who must be outside on a day like this makes you grateful for your working conditions?

Parents of Tasered bridge jumper file suit

The parents of a mentally ill man who died after jumping from the Monroe Street Bridge three years ago are suing the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for $4.7 million.  

Joshua Levy, a 28-year-old with paranoid schizophrenia, jumped after a standoff with police that began July 26, 2007, and lasted into the next day.

Through lawyer Breean Beggs, Levy’s parents Susan Levy (left) and David Breidenbach, filed suit Monday in federal court against the city and county, as well as Chris Kehl of the Sheriff’s Office and Michael McCasland and Sgt. Sam Yamada of the Spokane police. The suit also includes 10 unnamed defendants.

The suit alleges police never consulted with a psychiatrist recommended by mental health professionals.

Police abandoned a “no hands” policy of dealing with Levy “without obtaining the assent of any of Joshua’s current or former mental health providers or the psychiatrist,” according to the lawsuit.

Levy left the ledge but quickly returned after McCasland deployed a Taser at him. He jumped to his death after he saw Kehl and other officers approaching him.

“David Breidenbach had no warning from either department that their tactics would be changing and thus was watching his son when he was rushed by department members and then jumped to his death,” according to the lawsuit.

Past coverage:

July 27, 2008: Levy’s parents speaking out on suicide

Aug. 2, 2007: Police feared dramatic ending in bridge suicide

July 29, 2007: Jumper’s father questions Taser use

Federal lawsuit filed over man tasered before bridge jump

The Spokane River roars  toward the Monroe Street Bridge

SPOKANE — A federal lawsuit will be filed Monday in the case of a suicidal man who fell to his death after he was tasered by Spokane Police.

On July 27, 2007, Joshua Levy perched himself on Downtown Spokane’s Monroe Street Bridge, where he stayed for 20 hours. Family members say Levy battled mental illness most of his life, and had been released from days Western State Hospital days prior.

Spokane Police closed the bridge and tried to negotiate with Levy to get him to safety. After 20 hours, they convinced him to step down off the ledge to urinate. In an attempt to disable him, officers deployed a taser at Levy, who was hit with one of two prongs. Fleeing from officers’ outreached hands, Levy jumped over the side of the bridge and fell to his death. Posted at Krem.com More here.

Doubt if anyone is surpised by this. A tragedy for all concerned.