PINEHURST — A seemingly tense situation that occurred last Saturday between local law enforcement and a suicidal man came to a tragic end Monday when the man took his own life.
On Sept. 16, deputies with Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) and an officer with the Osburn Police Department (OPD) responded to a residence at 605 Lewiston Ave. in Pinehurst for a report of a male subject allegedly threatening several persons with a firearm.
Tonia Brown, the Pinehurst SCSO deputy, explained in her incident narrative that the alleged threats stemmed from an earlier on-going argument between the male, identified as 67-year old David A. Hill, and several family members.
The disagreement reached a boiling point that, according to one of the involved family members, ended with Hill shouting “I will shoot you, you bastard. Get the f*** out of my house!” and “Get off my property!” as the family members exited the home.
As they left, one of the family members also told deputy Brown that Hill said he would commit suicide if the police showed up.
Another family member stated that they knew Hill, an avid gun enthusiast, was armed because they could see the outline of a gun in right front pocket before they left.
Upon arrival at approximately 4 p.m., SCSO Captain Jeremy Groves explained in a press release that law enforcement (LE) took no risks and established a perimeter around the residence “for safety reasons until all information could be gathered and processed.”
Deputies, many equipped with semi-automatic rifles, taped off sections of the street and watched the home from a safe distance behind the cover of their vehicles.
The nature of the response raised the tensions of individuals in the surrounding neighborhood and those who were following the incident online.
LE initially made contact with Hill through the door, but then had to speak with him over the phone due to him refusing to come back or come outside.
Brown stated in her narrative that Hill made it clear to LE that “he was adamant that he has his finder on the trigger” and if they entered the house, he would kill himself.
After roughly four hours of attempting to negotiate with Hill and speaking to all involved parties, Groves stated that “it was found no crime had been committed like originally reported to the Sheriff’s Office.”
Rather than run the risk of exacerbating the situation further by taking action, LE made the decision to stand down and leave.
The incident was temporarily diffused with no shots being fired and no injuries.
A deal was even worked out between Hill and deputy Brown later that night where he would leave medication belonging to one of the family members on the front porch for them to collect, which two deputies did without incident.
Two days later, SCSO reported in a second press release that deputies returned to the home again Monday afternoon for a civil stand-by request for family members who had filed a protection order.
With the intention of allowing family members to safely retrieve items from the home, Sheriff Mike Gunderson attempted to calm Hill down over the phone.
Unfortunately, it appears that Hill had already made his decision.
At approximately 4:15 p.m., deputies found him deceased in his home “due to a single self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
SCSO ended this second press release by stating, “at no time from Saturday on was there any reason to believe Hill was a danger to himself or others. Hill had spoken to officers on different occasions since Saturday. Hill appeared to be fine, and wanted to be left alone.”
In written statement authored by one of the family members after Saturday’s events, but before his death on Monday, she stated that Hill possibly had health problems that may have influenced his behavior but refused to admit anything was wrong and had not seen a doctor in over a year.
After citing some examples of his aggressive and suicidal behavior, she ended her statement by saying that Hill “is a danger to himself, his family, and anyone he has a conflict with.”
According to the Idaho Repository, Hill had no violent criminal history in the State of Idaho.
Sadly, Shoshone County is no stranger to individuals taking their own lives.
The S.A.V.E. Coalition (Support Action Volunteerism Education), a local organization in the Silver Valley that was created to address the issue of suicide in our community, says that “Idaho has a higher than average suicide rate and Shoshone County ranks as one of the highest counties in the state for rates of suicide.”
If you, or someone you know, are having suicidal thoughts or ideas- please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Shoshone County Crisis Line at 208-556-0500.