The Negotiator Magazine

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“Victim Precipitated Suicide: ‘The Weapon of Choice is Us’”

By Russ Moore

On the early morning of September 25, 2000 Spring Valley Patrol Units responded to a call of a suicidal female.  As they arrived at the home, the subject (Pamela O.) drove away in her car.    Deputies were told by family members that Pamela was armed with a handgun and wanted to kill herself.    Patrol attempted to stop Pamela’s car, but she led them on a low speed pursuit around Spring Valley.    This pursuit ultimately terminated when Pamela drove her car into the parking lot of the Mormon Church, directly across the street from Mt. Miguel High School.  Pamela exited the car with the gun held under her chin.   She asked the deputies to shoot her.   Deputy Stuart Rea was one of the first patrol units on scene and was also a Crisis Negotiations Team Member.  He began a dialogue with Pamela.
 
Pamela continues to walk around the parking lot of the church with the gun under her chin.   She walks directly at the deputies and demands they kill her.     All deputies hold their fire. The gun under Pamela’s chin appeared to be a .44 revolver.     Speculation went around the deputies--- “is it loaded?”  “Is it real?”

 SED has deployed and have Pamela surrounded.    Snipers are following her movements with their rifles trained on her.     Pamela takes notice of them and comments, “I’m glad SWAT is here.  I know they can shoot.”   She then begins walking directly at one of the SED perimeter positions.    If she gets too close and refuses to drop her weapon, they will be forced to stop her.  “Pamela, walk back to me!” yells Deputy Rea. “You need to come back and talk to me!  We can help you if you put down the gun.”    Pamela continued to walk directly at the SED personnel.

”I’m going to point my gun at that SWAT guy,“ said Pamela.    “I know he can shoot and kill me without it hurting.”    As Pamela continued her walk toward certain death, Deputy Rea yelled to her, “How do you think that deputy is going to feel after shooting you?”  “Do you really want that to be on his conscience, that you forced him to kill you?”    This statement stopped Pamela.   She appeared to be deep in thought.  After a few minutes, she turned and faced Deputy Rea and said, “I hadn’t thought about how the officer would feel.”   Deputy Rea could see a change in Pamela’s face and her demeanor.  He began coaxing her toward his safe position.   After a three hour stand-off, Pamela dropped her weapon and was taken into custody without injury to her or any law enforcement personnel.

Pamela was arrested for evading and sentenced to probation.  She has received psychiatric treatment and has reunited with her family.

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September 2006