6-hour stand-off with suicidal man ends safely

5:59 PM, Feb 25, 2013   |    comments
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Hernando County, Florida-- A concerned daughter's call to deputies last Friday was just the beginning of a potentially dangerous stand-off with a man threatening to harm himself. 

The daughter, who lives all the way in California, told officials her father sent her a text message saying he was going to take his life. 

When deputies arrived to help him, reports say the man refused to open the door, and even threatened to shoot them with a shotgun visible to officials through a window. 

Deputies reportedly retreated to a safe place, but were not ready to give up on trying to save the man inside. 

Officials set up a perimeter around his home and waited for Sgt. Scott Lamia, the Commander of the Crisis Response Team, to attempt negotiations with him over the phone. 

The man reportedly told Sgt. Lamia that he distrusted government and law enforcement in general, and that he had absolutely no desire to speak with a negotiator. 

Somehow though, Sgt. Lamia earned his trust and kept him on the line. The man told Lamia he wanted to end his life by "suicide by cop" during a conversation about why barricaded himself inside, and what caused him to consider suicide. 

After six hours of discussion, Lamia was reportedly able to convince the man to leave his home both unarmed, and unharmed.

Deputies credit the stand-off's positive end to Lamia's "untiring efforts and perseverance."

Officials took the man into protective custody under the Baker Act.

Despite the amount of time spent and the potential inconvenience the stand-off may have caused neighbors, Sheriff Al Nienhuis says his crew handled the situation the right way. 

"Once a situation is stable, our primary goal is the preservation of life...We stand by our decision to slow the situation down and use patience and persistence whenever feasible," he says. "This is especially true when dealing with a suicidal individual who is not an immediate threat to any innocent citizens or family members."

A job well done for the team, who turned a potentially dangerous situation into a harmless one. 

"I am thrilled we were able to get this person the help he desperately needs without any injuries to my deputies, innocent citizens or the suicidal subject," says the Sheriff.

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