Police Thwart Potential Suicide-by-Cop in Los Alamos

Man, 27, Planned to Attack Police with Shovel

Police restrained a Los Alamos man Sunday evening after the man reportedly planned to commit “suicide by cop.”

Sheriff’s deputies responded the 600 block of Main Street after receiving a 9-1-1 call. The man, 27, was “out of control” and screaming at family members, according to a statement from police spokesperson Kelly Hoover. While investigating, deputies reportedly learned that the man was planning to attack the deputies with a shovel in order to force authorities to shoot him. Before he was able to do this, however, deputies placed the man in handcuffs.

According to Hoover, the man began to make suicidal statements and asked how he could get the cops to shoot him. Local emergency mental health services officials responded to the scene and placed a mental health hold on the man, while the deputies seized two firearms registered to him. Afterward, he was sent to the hospital, Hoover said. As he was not arrested, Hoover declined to give additional information about the man.

Hoover said the incident serves as an example of the “challenges” law enforcement faces when it comes to mental health crisis situations. On July 28, the National Alliance on Mental Illness hosted a talk to discuss the relationship between law enforcement and mental health crises.

According to Hoover, the Sheriff’s Office is offering a recently developed Crisis Intervention Training program. Its purpose is to help officers properly respond to situations involving people with mental health issues or developmental disabilities.

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