California

Handcuffed man escapes deputies and leaps to his death at California casino, cops say

Know the warning signs for suicide and what to do next

ReportingOnSuicide.org offers these tips if someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide. The U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK.
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ReportingOnSuicide.org offers these tips if someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide. The U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK.

Deputies talking to a suicidal man early Monday on a parking garage roof at a California casino took advantage of a distraction to yank him off the edge to safety, officials say.

But 10 minutes later the handcuffed man broke free of deputies and leaped off the roof to his death, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a release.

Deputies had been called to the Graton Resort & Casino parking garage just south of Santa Rosa at 1:30 a.m., officials wrote. They responded without lights or sirens to avoid startling the man, whom they found standing on a 4-foot wall around the rooftop talking to his wife.

The couple had been living in their vehicle, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

“The deputies started talking to the man, trying to figure out what was going on in his life and what was making him upset,” said spokeswoman Misti Wood, according to the publication.

At 2 a.m., deputies grabbed the man while he was distracted and pulled him off the wall, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Deputies handcuffed him and placed him under a psychological hold for his safety, though he was not under arrest, the release says.

Ten minutes later, the man broke free as deputies led him to a patrol car to be taken for treatment, sheriff’s officials reported.

He dashed back to the edge of the roof with deputies giving chase and dived over the wall, plunging five stories to his death, The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported.

The man’s identity will be released following an autopsy and notification of his family, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Suicide is on the rise across the United States. It is more than a mental health condition — states and communities can adopt comprehensive strategies to prevent suicide.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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