Gardiner Park

A man hanged himself in Gardiner Park this past weekend. Anyone having suicidal thoughts should call 1-800-273-8255 for immediate help, or, per the suggestion of Laurel Police Chief Tommy Cox, seek help with local emergency services. (Photo by Jack Hammett)

 

A local man is dead after hanging himself in Gardiner Park in Laurel Saturday night, Laurel Police Chief Tommy Cox said.

At 10 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a report of a man tied to a tree. Cox said evidence indicated the death was a suicide and that no foul play is suspected.

“We are positive this is self-inflicted, and the coroner came out and agreed,” he said.

Victims of suicide are typically not identified or reported in the Laurel Leader-Call. The death occurred in a public area and had witnesses, however. The victim was reportedly a black man in his early 20s.

“We would hope that someone would reach out to friends, close family, someone who could help them get through that time when they were thinking about suicide,” Cox said.

It isn’t likely that many people saw the body since the park was mostly empty that morning. But for those who may have seen the unidentified man, Cox gives similar advice for seeking help.

“Reach out to friends, family, clergy or counseling,” he said. “Anybody, especially someone contemplating this — everyone’s got a friend or pastor. Go to the hospital. Go to the emergency room. Come here. Let’s see if we can get you somebody to talk to.”

Police are trained to responsibly intervene in potential suicide situations, Cox said, but that doesn’t make the work easier.

“We don’t want it to happen to the person,” he said. “We don’t want our citizens to see it. We’d prefer our officers didn’t have to see it. Regardless, we’d rather help someone than find someone like that.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention suggests suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2018, a total of 48,344 Americans died by suicide while there were 1.4 million suicide attempts. On average, there are 132 suicides per day, and white men account for 70 percent of suicide deaths.

If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. An online chat service is also available at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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