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Deputies shoot and kill 73 year old man

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by TheeBadOne, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Well-Known Member

    The Arizona Republic
    Oct. 21, 2003 12:00 AM

    BLACK CANYON CITY - An elderly man has been shot dead by sheriff's deputies in what authorities said may be a case of suicide by cop.

    John Lichtenwalter, 73, described by relatives as a retired geologist in failing health, died Saturday during a confrontation at his home.

    A sister, Anne Wing, 56, of Seligman, said Monday that she is skeptical of the explanation that Yavapai County sheriff's deputies have offered.

    "I'm very upset," Wing said when contacted at her brother's home. "It looks like a war zone here. The place was obliterated by all the bullets."

    "We want some answers and we're not getting anything from anybody," added her husband, Dale, 57.

    Dale said Lichtenwalter had traveled the world as an exploratory geologist but had become enfeebled and needed a walker to get around.

    Lichtenwalter lived in Black Canyon City since 1989, where he was well-known by residents and was a volunteer worker at a local food bank, he said.

    Lt. Steve Francis, a spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, said the shooting occurred after dispatchers received a call from a health provider in Texas saying a man was on the telephone threatening suicide.

    The man, later identified as Lichtenwalter, warned that he would kill himself and anyone else who showed up at the home, Francis said.

    Three deputies, Ben Lenett, Frank Alvarez and Ryan Goodell, arrived at the man's home about 6:40 p.m. Saturday where they encountered Lichtenwalter, who was armed with a handgun, Francis said.

    Deputies failed in efforts to get Lichtenwalter to put down the weapon, Francis said.

    "Lichtenwalter ultimately pointed the weapon at deputies, forcing them to shoot Lichtenwalter, who died at the scene," Francis added.

    The shooting is being investigated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

    Officer Steve Volden, a spokesman for DPS, said it will be weeks, if not months, before the probe is completed.

    In the meantime, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office has made a preliminary determination that the shooting was within the agency's use-of-force guidelines.

    Susan Quayle, a sheriff's spokeswoman, said Monday that based on the decision, the three deputies, who have been on temporary paid leave, will be going back to work.

  2. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Well-Known Member

    I guess you shouldn't have pointed a gun at the cops, genious. He got what he wanted and now the family will be looking for someone to hold accountable.

  3. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Well-Known Member

    Sure sounds like it. Sad, nonetheless. :(

    TFL Survivor
  4. TallPine

    TallPine Well-Known Member

    I can't blame the deputies once they were in the situation, but, gee ... couldn't anyone see that this might happen?
  5. Atticus

    Atticus Well-Known Member

    Note to self: If contemplating suicide, do not call help line - help offered may not be what is desired.
  6. Quartus

    Quartus Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but what else could they do, Tallpine? They don't have an option of NOT showing up.

    Bad all around. Cops have to deal with it, and taxpayers have to pay for the circus. It was a selfish act.
  7. Ivanimal

    Ivanimal Well-Known Member

    Should take about an hour to type this one, why all the fuss. He seemed to know what he wanted but had to find assistance to get it. I feel more sorry for the police and their grief from having to fulfill his wishes.
  8. cordex

    cordex Well-Known Member

    The way I see it, if someone is threating to kill themselves and anyone who tries to help them, the police should put up a sign in front of their home advising the public of the situation (so no meter man or pizza delivery boy will accidentally stumble into a bad situation and be harmed). Maybe something like: "Unstable, suicidal, armed man on these premises. Do not approach!". Then just wait for neighbors to report the gunshot or bad smell.

    There is no reason to endanger police or anyone else because someone wants to kill themself, but doesn't have the guts to do it on their own.
  9. TallPine

    TallPine Well-Known Member

    I don't know for sure, since I'm not a psychologist. Neither are deputies of course, but things like this happen from time to time. So maybe a little advance planning would be in order?

    Cordex sort of had it right ... maybe they should just stand back and make sure no one else gets hurt. Establish telephone contact and try to work things out ...?

    Look at it this way, if there was a hostage situation, the police wouldn't barge right in first thing for fear of the hostage being killed - they would try to negotiate first.

    I am not blaming the deputies at all, they were doing their job and got into a situation where they had no other choice. But what I am saying is that maybe their is some bad policy going on with LE agencies.

    I read a book once by an old Alaska state trooper. I don't remember his first name, but his last name was Nelson IIRC. I actually knew his adult kids at one time. Anyway, there was this old guy that lived out in the bush and had gotten somewhat paranoid, so Nelson had to go check him out. The old man took a shot at Nelson as he approached the cabin. Nelson took cover and called out something like: "Hey, [Jones?] - it's me Nelson. Just came by for a mug-up." The old guy came out of his solitary induced fog, put down his rifle, and invited the trooper in. They had a nice chat and everything was okay. Everyone lived.

    Of course, this was years ago in a "far away land", and I suppose the trooper would just have to kill the old guy now.
  10. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member

    Reminds me of an old episode of the Andy Griffith Show. :D

  11. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Well-Known Member

    Sweet Dreams are made of these....

    Looks like that's what the cops did here too, went there and spoke to him. Instead of putting the gun down he aimed right at the cops. No wiggle room left, game time. Sad, but predeterminded by the old fella.
  12. TallPine

    TallPine Well-Known Member

    This could mean anything.

    What is probably means is that they crashed into the house yelling profanties at him, since this is SOP.

    But then I wasn't there.
  13. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Well-Known Member

  14. Quartus

    Quartus Well-Known Member

    Yup. Even if they feel pretty sure that he's looking for suicide by cop, and is not going to shoot, they really can't bet their lives on that assumption. None of us here would, and I sure ain't going to ask them to.
  15. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Well-Known Member

    What about less lethal armament?

    Tear Gas?, Rubber bullets? Or they could have tried to talk to him from a safe distance without confronting him directly.

    The way these situations are handled is very provocative and ham-handed.

    If someone is suicidal the last thing you want to do is point a gun at them.
  16. Quartus

    Quartus Well-Known Member

    We don't know that they did, up until they shot him. Once he points a gun at them, what are they supposed to do?

    I agree, we do need to find better ways to handle this kind of thing - it's happening too often.

    Even taking a "tough, idiot, you asked for it" attitude, it's hard on the cops and taxpayers, not to mention being dangerous.
  17. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    "What about less lethal armament?"
    The problem is that he is using lethal armament. I for one am not going to put down my gun and pick up a less lethal weapon when I am being confronted by deadly force.

    "They don't have an option of NOT showing up."
    This is true, but only because this country and all the actions of all the people are dictated by lawyers. What if they didn't show up ? What if the guy called someone and said that he would kill himself and anyone else who showed up at the home. And they said, Ok, it's your home, on your property, and it's your life but if that is what you want we won't interfere or intrude on you in any way. You obviously have a problem, that is why you called, and we will do anything we can to help you, but we are not going to try to ram anything down your throat, we are not going to violate your privacy, we are not going to try to help you in spite of your wishes. It is your problem and only you can dictate how you want to handle it.
    What would that hurt ? Other than lawyers, why couldn't the situation have been handled just that way. Was the way it turned out better ? Did these deputies actually help anyone by their actions ?

    I went on a call just like this yesterday minus the gun play and have been on thousands of similar calls.
  18. Quartus

    Quartus Well-Known Member

    Good points, 444. Far too much of what goes on is because of the lawyers.

    But what if this guy doesn't like the fact that his plan failed? The obvious possibility is that he will GUARANTEE a police response by shooting an innocent person. Can the cops not respond and just HOPE he won't do that?

    I think we have a catch-22 here.
  19. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    Well you are making an assumption that, that was his motive. What if he was just a depressed man looking for help by calling this hotline ? Not to have someone come to his house and take him away against his will (which is exactly what would have happened if they didn't kill him first) ? The article doesn't mention him threatening anyone other than someone that came to his house (which is of course exactly what they did as fast as they could). I personally don't find that unreasonable.

    If we are going to think along the lines of what would happen IF................ What if he had a nuke ? What if he killed someone without ever calling the depression hotline ? What if, what if, what if

    Believe me, I do this all the time. If anyone makes any reference to being suicidal, they are taken away against their will. Even if a third party says that they said it. If someone is thought to be depressed, likely the same thing will happen. You can deny it until you are blue in the face and away you go. The bonus of course is that this all happens in front of your neighbors etc.
  20. Quartus

    Quartus Well-Known Member

    [james cagney voice]

    uUhhhhggggg <gasp> <cough> <wheeze> Well, ya got me, copper... right in the ol' breadbasket... <cough> I guess I'm done for...

    [/james cagney voice]


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