Man Calls Suicide Prevention Hotline for Help, SWAT Team Shows Up and Shoots Him to Death

police brutality swat


William Grigg | Lew Rockwell Blog


A still-unidentified 35-year-old man from Roy, Utah called a suicide prevention hotline at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning (October 21). A SWAT team showed up and, according to Roy PD spokesman Matt Gwynn, “negotiated” with the “subject” for more than six hours.

“At some point those negotiations failed and unfortunately the SWAT team was involved in a shooting, and the subject is now deceased,” Gwynn told a reporter for the Ogden Standard-Examiner, taking refuge in the familiar, officially-prescribed impersonal language used to describe police shootings.

Eyewitness Ron Smith told the Standard-Examiner that he heard “one shot, and then a pause, and then four or five shots after that, that were very rapid.”

Although he provided no further details from the incident — not even the name of the victim — Gwynn quickly asserted the reasonableness of the lethal actions by his fellow officers.

“officers are authorized to stop a threat whenever their life is threatened, or the life of another is threatened,” recited Gwynn. “And at that point if the officer feels he is justified, he may act to stop that threat.”

Note, once again, how Gwynn scrupulously avoids the use of descriptive language acknowledging that one of his comrades just killed another human being.

RELATED: SHOCKING: Cop Actually Gets Sentenced to Death for Fatally Shooting Pregnant Woman and Her Unborn Child

Police are trained and encouraged to perceive the public at large to be a “threat” to “officer safety”; one illustration of this is the fact that as Gwynn spoke to the reporter in an otherwise placid neighborhood he was wearing body armor beneath his polo shirt.



In a situation involving a potentially suicidal person, the formula regurgitated by Detective Gwynn would justify pre-emptive execution of the “subject,” who is, after all, threatening to kill someone.

“We encourage those having suicidal thoughts or tendencies to contact a physician or expert that can talk them through it,” advised Gwynn. “In this particular case he attempted to do that — it’s unfortunate and sad that it failed.”

RELATED: Cop Shoots Man Holding Cell Phone, Gets Silver Valor Award

Gwynn appeared utterly insensible of how his advice would appear to anybody paying attention: Suicidally depressed people who call for help will invariably attract the attention of state functionaries endowed with the power of discretionary killing.

Published by the Lew Rockwell Blog.


If you haven't already, be sure to like our Filming Cops Page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Please visit our sister site Smokers ONLY

Sign Up To Receive Your Free E-Book
‘Advanced Strategies On Filming Police’

About author

Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3682 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

You might also like

  • Son of Liberty

    He got his wish he went out in style.

    • heyheythere

      No, he didn’t. He called a prevention hotline. He didn’t want to die.

  • Kaspa

    Well i guess it’s better then suicide but the incompetence here. Their mission save suicidal man. Result suicidal man dead. Mission status: FAIL

  • Alex Murphy

    I got this.

  • humboldtrick

    More piece-of-shit, out-of-control cops who should be summarily executed for betrayal of their public trust.

  • Nick Forde

    “In a situation involving a potentially suicidal person, the formula
    regurgitated by Detective Gwynn would justify pre-emptive execution of
    the “subject,” who is, after all, threatening to kill someone.”

    Sure, that makes sense except swat/police officers are not trained professionals who can read a person and judge whether or not they’re going to pop themselves in the next 5 seconds. I’m sure they’d be better at it than myself, an average person, but not good enough at it to decide to perform a “pre-emptive execution”.

  • Betty Eyer

    I’m wondering if there is more to this story than the article is telling. Like….did the man have family members that he was threatening? If it is just as written – on guy with a gun in his own home and then they killed him it is terrible. But somehow I find that hard to believe.

    • Dylan

      if the guy threatened anyone, it was probably to provoke the police to shoot him. It’s an officer-assisted suicide.

      • Betty Eyer

        Then the article should have made that clear. Otherwise it sounds like officer incompetence.

        • Dylan

          It *was* officer incompetence. The police aren’t there to perform assisted suicide! I don’t like cops and I don’t like what happened here. We don’t actually know– I don’t mean to imply that I do know– what actually happened here. What I do know is that I personally know someone who considered getting a police officer to shoot them as a way to kill themselves. I’m sure they’re not the only one who ever thought of it. I mean, all you really have to do is act a bit threatening physically toward a cop– you don’t have to actually hurt them or anything. Get a fake gun, or something like that. So basically, my point being that cops need to be aware of that, and be aware that a suicidal person may provoke them. In any case except where the person’s trying to hurt a third party, the responders to the situation shouldn’t be armed with lethal weapons. They should be a team of social workers and crisis workers, maybe if necessary, if the situation warrants, crisis trained police officers. CIT officers, they are called. They have special training about responding to mentally ill people in crisis.

          • Betty Eyer

            If we don’t actually know what happened then we don’t know if it was incompetence. They may have been given no other option.

          • Jess

            Death by Cop is NOT officer incompetence. You sound like you have a good heart, but I think you’ve got a fundamental misunderstanding of how it works. It’s a catch 22 for officers and the perfect (in their minds) guilt-free suicide for the distraught person. It’s the final reassignment of blame for a person who has probably been passing responsibility to others their whole lives. Unfortunate all around. The responding officers are the ones who are damaged after these incidents.

          • Robert Mulholland

            Uh! The man was killed. I think that trumps ‘damaged’!

          • Mike

            You say it “was” officer incompetence. Then you say “we don’t actually know …. what actually happened here”. If you don’t know, I how can you declare what “it” was??

    • Robert Mulholland

      Don’t you think the police department would have released a statement if there were facts justifying their actions? They would be screaming it. Why would they risk public scrutiny if they could explain that they acted accordingly? People like you really piss me off. You bury your head in the sand and convince yourself that it is “hard to believe”, when police brutality and injustice happens daily. I’m sure there were a lot of Germans who did the same thing. Turned their heads the other way when Jews were being slaughtered because it is easier to pretend there is not a problem when the problem doesn’t affect you. Shame on you. They killed a man who was asking for help. There is no more to the story. At least be honest enough to say you don’t care because it doesn’t affect you, but don’t take the truth away from the victims. To say you don’t care is wrong. To say it didn’t happen is evil.

    • George hanes

      Exactly, there is most likely more to the story than given, but the extra bit must not support the narrative.

  • Firegirl

    He was calling for help, He wasn’t calling to be shot to death,, Something is very wrong,,,

  • Kid1

    Only one detail that could (probably will) change the whole situation. What if the civilian decided to try to shoot a cop? Possibly actually did get one in the body armor? People need to wait until all the details are figured out. Otherwise we can have another treyvon (who’s killer got off on self defense) or Michael brown (the entire cause of the circus in Ferguson which is looking like a similar situation to treyvon

  • salty balls


  • ferg2112

    I live very near to this incident and have been reading whatever I can get my hands on about it. To date, they have said very little. It seems to me that if he had threatened anyone other than himself they would be screaming it from the rooftops to justify their incompetence. So far it just appears that he didn’t kill himself quick enough so they did it for him. The police here are nothing more than power hungry jackboots just salivating for the chance to use deadly force whether it be on a suicidal man, an unarmed kid wearing ear buds who can’t hear them telling him to stop or a dog defending his own back yard. Frightening.

  • Highlandergirl

    If we ever did that they would have locked us up and throwen away the key and call it murder hmmmmm have mercy and the police wonder why people don’t call them more often I wonder why it is things like this that tell people they cant trust the police to do the right things I am sorry and maybe not everyone will say it but I know it is on their minds.

  • chris cunningham

    Talk about gallows humour. This article came up while researching suicide prevention and offers minimal reassurance that helplines are effective. What is wrong with a system that sends out armed men to calm an agitated person down? Seriously, this is a distressing outcome to an increasing problem that needs to be addressed instead of avoided. Depression is increasing while funding to mental health is being axed. Why?