Henry Bergmann, a pioneering athlete in the early days of beach volleyball, shot himself in his bed with a .22 caliber rifle at his State Street home early Monday morning. Police indicate that Bergman, 65, had been suffering serious health issues that had driven him deeply into debt. No note was found.
Responding to reports of a man with a gun, police blocked off the block for about 20 minutes until determining that Bergman, a Santa Barbara High School graduate and a local volleyball legend long before Karch Kiraly, was dead.
The suicide toll has been grim lately. This past Sunday, a 21-year-old leapt to his death from the Granada parking garage, diving head first, according to witnesses, to the pavement below. In the last month, one man jumped from the cliffs overlooking Hendry’s Beach on the Wilcox Property, and two people were killed on the train tracks by oncoming trains.
In both instances, police suspected suicidal motives. In one, the victim/perpetrator ran out onto the tracks and was dancing as the train approached. In another, the victim lay down beside the tracks. Also in the past month, the Cold Spring Bridge was the site of yet another leaping death, bringing this year’s total at that location to four.
City police report that in the past 12 months, seven people have committed suicide and 56 have attempted to do so.