Roy, Utah – A Roy, Utah man, Jose Calzada, 35, placed a call to a suicide prevention hotline at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and threatened to kill himself, seven hour later he was shot and killed by police, according to law enforcement.
According to ABC 4, neighbors described Calzada as a quiet, friendly man, who was divorced and now lived in the home with his girlfriend and her children.
The first tragic mistake in this case was made when the Weber County Consolidated Dispatch Center sent officers to the residence rather than some type of crisis response team trained to deal with suicidal individuals.
From previous cases, such as that of Jason Turk, who was shot twice in the face after a suicide call to 9-1-1 by his wife, or that of Christian Alberto Sierra, who was suffering from depression and had attempted suicide when police showed up and shot him four times, killing him, most know all too well what happens when you send officers to “assist” people threatening suicide.
Subsequently, a SWAT team came to the residence and “negotiated” with Calzada for more than seven hours before taking his life.
“At some point those negotiations failed and unfortunately the SWAT team was involved in a shooting, and the subject is now deceased,” said Roy PD spokesman Matt Gwynn.
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.”
Specifics of the case were not released but Gwynn was sure to explain the cop logic of reasonableness stating, “Officers are authorized to stop a threat whenever their life is threatened, or the life of another is threatened. And at that point if the officer feels he is justified, he may act to stop that threat.”
“This is being treated as a officer assisted suicide or suicide by cops,” Gwynn said.
While that could potentially be the case, this is usually the default position of law enforcement when unprepared officers show up to deal with individuals experiencing severe mental health issues.
Often police go into these situations with an ingrained mentality of looking at citizens as threats to the safety of the officers and thus feel empowered and justified to use lethal force as the suicidal person has already threatened to kill someone, themselves.
Gwynn went on to state, “We encourage those having suicidal thoughts or tendencies to contact a physician or expert that can talk them through it. In this particular case he attempted to do that — it’s unfortunate and sad that it failed.”
Sadly, Gwynn’s words ring hollow as Calzada did exactly as Gwynn suggests and ended up paying the ultimate price as is far too often the case in these situations.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis and on Facebook at Sir Metropolis.