Dealing with the unusual: Chico police handle with two suicide calls in two days

  • A Chico police officer and his K-9 partner stand guard outside a home in the 600 block of Olive Street Tuesday, where a man suspected of possibly being armed was making suicidal threats. The incident ended with the man coming out and agreeing to seek professional help.(Ty Barbour/Staff Photo)<p class='dotPhoto'>All Chico E-R photos are available <a href='http://chicoer.mycapture.com/'>here</a>.</p>

of

Expand
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

CHICO — Chico police responded in large numbers to suicide threats Tuesday and Wednesday that reportedly involved people with firearms who posed a potential threat to the public — and eventually to officers themselves.

One of them ended with the arrest of a Chico man on suspicion of felony child sexual abuse.

In that incident, police were told Wednesday morning that a Chico man identified as Robert Jason Rather, 40, was threatening suicide and had left his home on Lucy Way, off Ceanothus Avenue in north Chico. Police were told he was in a pickup with his 13-year-old son in the passenger seat.

At first officials thought the man was heading to Jordan Hill Road on the upper Paradise ridge. Within a half-hour officials picked up a signal from the boy”s cell phone, somewhere near the Highway 32 bridge over the Sacramento River.

As officers from Chico and other law enforcement agencies flooded the area, police searched the man”s home and said they had located several firearms registered to the man, but perhaps not all.

At one point police were allegedly told the man would shoot at officers if they approached him. They also learned that the man was the subject of a child sexual abuse investigation from Tuesday night.

The man”s pickup was located about 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot of a convenience store at Highway 32 and East Avenue.

Officer Don Finkbiner spotted the teenager in the cab and got him to safety.

The boy told police his father had a firearm, which was inside a backpack still in the cab of the vehicle. It was recovered, and police said it was loaded.

The driver was inside the store, talking with Chico police negotiator Cesar Sandoval on a cell phone.

Sandoval persuaded him to come outside and he was taken into custody without incident. The boy wasn”t harmed.

The victim in the case is a 14-year-old girl police said is well known to the suspect, but is not a blood relative.

Rather was booked into the Butte County Jail on three felony counts of child sexual abuse and one count of having a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

In the first incident, on Tuesday afternoon, a man living in the 600 block of Olive Street reportedly called a hotline in Sacramento to say he was contemplating suicide. The information was called to Chico police, who ran a check on the man and learned that he had a firearm registered in his name.

It reportedly took hotline volunteers more than an hour to determine exactly where the man was calling from and alert Chico police.

The man remained on the phone with volunteers, who kept Chico police dispatchers apprised of his comments and what his state of mind seemed to be. Officers advised one nearby neighbor to evacuate, and others to shelter in place.

After nearly a half hour, the man told the hotline he was hanging up and would come outside.

Through the hotline, police made it clear that he would have to leave his firearm in the home and come out with his hands in plain view. Police contacted him without incident and learned that the firearm that once belonged to the man had been stolen.

He agreed to a three-day hold at a mental health facility.

blog comments powered by Disqus