Jose Calzada, 35, of Utah called the suicide prevention hotline at 4am. Seven hours he was dead, but not due to his own hands, as he was shot and killed by police.
According to a local ABC affiliate:
The 35 year old man, who neighbors describe the as a quiet, friendly man, was divorced and now lived in the home with his girlfriend and her children. According to Detective Matthew Gwynn of the Roy City Police Department, the man called a suicide hotline around 4 a.m. and threatened to kill himself. The Weber County Consolidated Dispatch Center sent officers to the resident.
“There were people in the home at the time the call was placed,” Det. Gwynn told ABC4 News. “They left the home shortly thereafter.”
Roy City Police and the Weber Metro SWAT Team tried to convince the man to surrender and get help but seven hours after the initial call, something dramatic occurred in the garage causing SWAT officers to open fire.
“About 11:15 this morning that negotiation failed,” Det. Gwynn said. “There was an officer involved shooting and that subject is deceased as a result.”
Neighbors told ABC4 that the man had struggled with alcohol and may have attempted suicide before.
According to Det. Gwynn, the incident is “being treated as a officer assisted suicide or suicide by cop.”
Clearly, there was an attempt to deal with the man and talk him down as there were seven hours of negotiations. However, Gwynn said, “At some point those negotiations failed and unfortunately the SWAT team was involved in a shooting, and the subject is now deceased.”
According to one eyewitness, he heard “one shot, and then a pause, and then four or five shots after that were very rapid.”
Det. Gwynn explained, “Officers are authorized to stop a threat whenever their life is threatened, or the life of another is threatened. And at that point if the officer feels he is justified, he may act to stop that threat.”
“We encourage those having suicidal thoughts or tendencies to contact a physician or expert that can talk them through it,” said Gwynn. “In this particular case he attempted to do that — it’s unfortunate and sad that it failed.”
Unfortunately, this is exactly what Calzada had previously done, but that apparently didn’t help. The question that I have is a simple one: A man calls a hotline to prevent suicide and yet, there aren’t people sent to actually deal with that, but rather a SWAT team. Does this seem a little overkill or is it just me? I’m not attempting to say this is not suicide by cop. I most definitely is, as the detective stated, but my question is the type of response of the police department. Is it really necessary to deploy a SWAT team for a man who actually calls the suicide prevention hotline? Personally, I don’t think it is.