Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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[UPDATED]Fort Bragg Police Detail Crisis Response to Tuesday’s Tragic Suicide Off the Noyo Bridge

The following is a press release issued by the Fort Bragg Police Department

FortBraggPoliceVehicle
[Photograph provided by Fort Bragg Police Captain Thomas O’Neal]

On June 7th, at approximately 11:03 a.m., Officers were dispatched to the Noyo Bridge for the report of a male subject who was standing on the outside of the pedestrian bridge railing. The first Officer arrived on scene within minutes and made contact with the subject. 

For approximately 30 minutes, the Officer on scene spent time communicating with the adult male victim desperately attempting to convince him to come back over the railing. Unfortunately, as a Crisis  Worker arrived on scene to assist, the victim chose to jump to his death. 

The Officer who was in contact with the victim was able to travel on foot down the steep terrain to the south of the Noyo Bridge and locate the victim on the ground below. It was apparent the victim was deceased and medical personnel were notified. The victim’s next of kin have been notified however we will not be releasing the victim’s name out of respect for the family. 

The Fort Bragg Police Department sends their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the victim. We would also like to remind the public of the local 24/7 crisis line available at 1-855-838-0404.  Family members or friends of individuals suffering from crisis or mental health issues may reach out to the crisis line or the Fort Bragg Police Department at 707-964-0200 to learn about available resources. 

The Fort Bragg Police Department would like to thank the multiple agencies who arrived to assist with this incident. State Parks provided traffic control and a lifeguard in case the incident turned into a water rescue. Adventist Health Mendocino Coast supplied two ambulances at either side of the Noyo Bridge to expedite medical care should it be needed. The United States Coast Guard provided a boat to assist with a potential water rescue, and then used the boat to provide privacy for the victim’s body while it  was recovered. Finally, The Fort Bragg Fire Department provided the shallow water boat intended to transport medical personnel to the inaccessible beach and ultimately to transport the victim’s body to the awaiting mortuary vehicle. A personal thanks is extended to the Redwood Community Services  Crisis Worker who came to scene voluntarily to try and assist. 

Wellness resources have been made available to the Officers present that day. Questions regarding this press release may be directed to Captain O’Neal at toneal@fortbragg.com or at 707-961-2800 ext.  120.

The following is an update sent to us by the Fort Bragg Police Department to provide more information about the Crisis Response:

I want to start by apologizing if our press release was interpreted to indicate that there was a delayed response from the Crisis Worker in this incident. Our Department has had a great relationship with Redwood Community Services Crisis Team over the last few years and have expanded that relationship to include Crisis Workers meeting our Officers in the field. It is our understanding that Redwood Community Services’ contract with the County does not include field visits, but our coastal office regularly deploys their Crisis Workers to the field voluntarily. These field visits have been extremely effective in providing the community an increased level of service for those individuals experiencing mental health illnesses.

Tuesday’s event was the first of its kind in our Department’s recent history. We requested a Crisis Worker early in the process, and one was deployed almost immediately. Our Officer working with the victim spent several minutes ensuring that the victim was comfortable with another person approaching the scene. When that decision was made, the Crisis Worker was called forward. Our Department has no issue with the response time of the Crisis Worker and we are extremely grateful they voluntarily responded to the call for assistance.

In a perfect world, Crisis Workers would be poised at the door ready to race to a scene to help. Unfortunately, our community and most of the nation is not to this point yet. Our Department has made great strides over the years responding to individuals in crisis and it will continue to be one our top priorities in the future.

In closing, and on a personal note, the Crisis Worker who responded to the scene that day is a personal hero of mine and of this Department. That Crisis Worker responded voluntarily to a volatile scene where there was a great likelihood that they would be witness to a horrific and catastrophic event. Unfortunately, that Crisis Worker was feet away when that event happened. Both that Crisis Worker, and the individuals who witnessed that event will have to live with that experience for the rest of their life. We are eternally thankful for the Crisis Worker who voluntarily acted as a First Responder, despite the risk to their physical and mental welfare.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Incrediblely disheartening to lean that Redwood Community Services’ contract with the county does not include field visits. Crisis workers are absolutely necessary in situations like these, and they need to be compensated for their time and efforts. Better mental health care for our community and proper funding for those who work in the mental health care feild are essential.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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