Police, family of NJ man prevent ‘suicide by cop’ attempt, authorities say
MANCHESTER — Police in Ocean County helped avert a potentially tragic situation Saturday in which a 25-year-old man allegedly intended to commit "suicide by cop."
According to Manchester Township Police Chief Lisa Parker, police officers initially responded to a 911 call on a rainy evening at 11 p.m. involving an intoxicated male in the Whiting section of Manchester Township.
"Responding officers had no idea the 25-year-old resident was looking to force a deadly encounter with police," the chief said in a statement.
When he arrived at the residence, Officer Patrick Mabie saw a struggle taking place between several people in the driveway. During the encounter, a male who was involved began to walk toward the officer, yelling "just kill me," "I can't stand my life," police said.
Once the officer determined that the male was unarmed, he and Officer Michael Steffen attempted to calm the man and "bring him under control," the chief said. Following a brief scuffle, the man was taken into custody. During the incident, police said, he continued yelling at officers to "just shoot me."
During the course of an investigation, police learned that the struggle in the driveway when they arrived was between family members of the distraught man, who were trying to get a pellet gun out of his hands. police say the gun resembled a real handgun. Family members went to the home after the man called them and claimed he was planning to commit "suicide by cop."
The man was later transported to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, according to police.
“This case just highlights how even the most seemingly basic of calls can quickly change. I am proud of the officers and thankful for the family members who intervened.”According the chief, Manchester police have actually seen an increase in calls involving emotionally disturbed persons.
"A review of the agency’s Computer Aided Dispatch records reveals an almost 30 percent increase in these types of calls between 2012 and 2015," police said in a statement.
The police chief credits the man's family members and responding officers for helping to avert a tragedy.
“This near tragedy was avoided through quick actions of family members and officers. Family members were able to get the pellet gun out of the man’s hand and officers were able to quickly assess the chaotic scene and take appropriate action," Parker said. "Officers showed great restraint and safely took him into custody without further incident.”
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.
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