A tense standoff with a suicidal man ended the best possible way Wednesday afternoon in Jackson County. No one was hurt, and the man is receiving help.
According to Sheriff Charles Britt, five of his deputies spent about 20 minutes trying to convince the 22-year-old Three Rivers man not to kill himself. The man actually called the sheriff's department himself.
When the deputies arrived, they found the man sitting on his front porch with a 12-gauge shotgun in his mouth. An empty 1-liter vodka bottle was on its side on the porch and a second, nearly empty, 1-liter vodka bottle was by his feet. The safety was off the gun.
Capt. Curtis Spiers, Deputy Robert Zwick and Deputy Leo Allen stayed about 50 feet away, talking to the man, while Deputies Scott Hinkle and Aaryn Hall backed them up.
The man said he was distraught over losing his job and disappointing his family. Officers told the man several times, "This is a permanent solution for a temporary problem and you don't want to do this."
The deputies said the man would remove the gun from his mouth for minutes at a time, but then put it back.
As they spoke, the officers slowly moved toward the porch. Finally, the man was sobbing with the shotgun resting on his shoulder. That's when Capt. Spiers took the opportunity to grab the firearm.
"We are proud of our officers for using restraint and compassion while saving this man's life," Sheriff Britt said.
The man was taken to Singing River Hospital by Acadian Ambulance.
Unfortunately, not everyone who feels such hopelessness reaches out for help. If you've thought about suicide, and need someone to talk to, help is available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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