The following is a press release issued by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
On July 18th, 2022, at approximately 12:10 PM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office was advised by a family member of a Lakeport resident who was making suicidal and suicide by law enforcement statements. The Sheriff’s Office was informed that the person was driving a vehicle in the Lakeport area and was reportedly armed with a handgun. No reports were made to the Sheriff’s Office that the individual intended to harm anyone other than himself, and the LCSO was not aware of any information that he posed an immediate or imminent threat to the community.
LCSO deputies responded to the last known location of the individual to conduct a welfare check, but they were unable to locate him. A be on the lookout (BOLO) request for a welfare check was broadcast to all LCSO personnel and allied agencies. A short time later, a Bureau of Land Management officer observed the individual and attempted to make contact. The individual refused to speak with the officer and proceeded to drive away; the BLM officer observed the individual point the firearm at himself while driving. The California Highway Patrol and the BLM officer continued watching the vehicle from a distance and followed it for a short period. No actions were observed which would lead the officers or the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to believe the individual posed an immediate threat to the public.
In accordance with legislation passed in 2020, which requires de-escalation practices to be implemented, LCSO requested the additional officers to disengage in an attempt to deescalate the situation. In accordance with the recently enacted legislation and in accordance with training undertaken by our deputies, disengaging was determined to be the most appropriate action given the statements reported that the person wished to commit suicide by law enforcement and observation of him threatening nobody other than himself. Law Enforcement continued to monitor the incident and communicated with Lake County Behavioral Health to further de-escalate the incident and provide the individual with the needed services while continuing the Sheriff’s Office investigation.
Around 5:00 PM, dispatch received calls of a male adult walking around the outside of Sentry Market with a firearm. Sheriff’s Office dispatch was advised the person had not threatened anyone with the firearm. LCSO responded to the scene and identified the person as the same individual from the earlier calls. Deputies began to engage the individual in conversation, attempting to de-escalate and bring him safely into custody where he could receive help. Deputies spoke with him for approximately thirteen minutes.
A crisis negotiator was requested to respond to the scene, and deputies secured the area to prevent members of the public from coming near. During that time, the person pointed the firearm at himself several times. He did not threaten law enforcement or any member of the public with the firearm during the incident. While deputies were talking with him, he discharged one round from the firearm resulting in a self-inflicted injury. He was provided immediate medical attention and was airlifted to an out-of-county trauma center. Unfortunately, he passed from his injury.
Unfortunately, this situation ended tragically, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office offers our condolences to the family and our community as a whole. Our first priority is to protect life. Help is available to those who need it; dial 988 to speak with a trained counselor confidentially and for free. More information can be found at 988lifeline.org.
Many aspects of the Emerald Triangle’s rural lifestyle lend themselves to suicide risk factors. Those risk factors, as described by the Center for Disease Control, include barriers to health care, social isolation, and high rates of adverse childhood experiences,
Please remember, if you or a loved one are suffering from mental distress there are many resources that can be accessed including:
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-6264, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): (800) 662-4357
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): (866) 615-6464
- Mental Health America Hotline: Text MHA to 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741
In efforts to educate the public regarding suicide prevention, the following infographic from the National Institute of Mental Health provides guidance in warning signs associated with suicide: