On Sunday night at approximately 10:05, the California Highway Patrol’s Humboldt Communications Center (HCC) received a report of a possible suicidal subject traveling south from Eureka. At approximately 10:27 hours, the suicidal subject called dispatch and indicated that he intended to commit suicide but was not going to involve other drivers.
A short time later, CHP dispatchers received reports of a vehicle stopped on the Eel River Bridge, between Rio Dell and Fortuna, with no lights on. Just after 11:00, two Garberville CHP officers arrived on scene and observed a subject standing near the bridge railing, next to a vehicle. A crisis negotiator from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was requested and Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department staged in a safe location near the scene.
The officers approached the subject to make contact and check on his well-being. As they approached, he removed a large knife from a sheath and stated he wanted the officers to shoot him. The officers engaged him in conversation in an attempt to calm him.
Humboldt CHP officers arrived on scene to assist and as officers spoke with the subject, he made additional statements that he wanted officers to shoot him. At one point, the subject began walking towards the driver door of his vehicle and the officers instructed him to move away, fearing for his safety and the safety of the public if he became mobile again.
The subject stated that if he got back in the car, he believed officers would have no choice but to shoot him. While continuing to give verbal commands to the subject not to get back in his vehicle, he refused to comply and continued approaching the open car door.
An Electronic Control Device (taser) was deployed successfully, causing the subject to drop the knife and fall to the ground. He was safely detained and emergency medical personnel were allowed to respond and provide treatment. The subject was subsequently transported to Semperviren’s Psychiatric Health Facility in Eureka for treatment. One CHP officer received minor injuries during the incident and was treated and released at the scene.