Tampa Police released information on a recent suicide investigation that led to much speculation on social media. This social media conversation included disturbing video from the scene.
While information regarding suicide investigations are generally not released in deference to the survivors, Chief Dugan and the family have authorized the release of the following synopsis.
At approximately 12:43 p.m. on December 9, 2020, the Tampa Police received a call from a witness regarding a male on fire and hanging from the Rowlett Park bridge. Tampa Police Officers and Tampa Fire Rescue were immediately dispatched to the scene.
TPD and TFR responded and, as quickly as possible, retrieved the adult male who was suspended from the bridge. Officers lowered the man to the river, attempting to provide immediate emergency first aid and comfort. He was then placed on a stretcher and transported to Tampa General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Evidence collected at the scene suggested this was an intentional suicide. Interviews with the family regarding the mental health history and prior actions of the 35 year-old support this conclusion.
While this remains an active investigation, the concerns for those in mental health crisis are in the public interest. Tampa Police Detectives continue to work with the family of the 35-year-old male. The family has shared his history of mental health issues and they understand the concern of the public as well.
Tampa Police continue their ongoing partnership with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay to ensure that the family has access to any help and psychological first aid they may need during this extremely difficult time.
“This tragedy is an additional trauma for the family, the responding officers, paramedics, and the community who were witnesses. With the holiday season upon us, loneliness, and pandemic fatigue are even greater concerns for those in mental health crisis”, said Chief Brian Dugan. “It is important we look out for our family, our neighbors, and each other. Help can be a phone call away, whether you call the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay at 211 or call 911 in an imminent emergency someone is there to answer your call”.
Any additional updates will be available upon conclusion of the investigation.