Manslaughter charges filed in suicide case
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Neighbors of the Eagle-Vail apartment where a man killed himself Monday night are shaken about what happened and surprised they didn’t hear anything at the time of the shooting.
Those who heard anything at all say it wasn’t until police and a fire truck arrived on the scene.
“It was kind of a cold night, so we had all the windows and doors shut and we had the TV on,” says Mike Rathmell, a neighbor. “This is the first time anything like this has happened anywhere near where I have lived. It’s really sad.”
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office says an 18-year-old who lived in the Mountain Stream Apartments in Eagle-Vail was shot in the head Monday around 10 p.m. and died later at a Denver hospital.
Jacob Weiss, the 19-year-old roommate of the unidentified victim, reportedly gave him a loaded shotgun moments after the two were drinking and talking about suicide, the Sheriff’s Office says.
Two other people were in the apartment at the time of the shooting, but they did not see it happen. One of them, a male, called 911, the Sheriff’s Office says.
Weiss was arrested and charged with manslaughter (assisting suicide), reckless endangerment and prohibited use of a firearm. Weiss bonded out of the Eagle County jail Wednesday afternoon.
Colorado law defines assisted suicide as manslaughter, according to the Associated Press.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office does not release the names of suicide victims, says spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly.
The only reason the department released any information about this case is because of the criminal aspect of the case, she says.
“If this was just a suicide, we wouldn’t have released anything,” she says.
Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in Eagle County, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
That statistic is why the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office wants people to know about the help that is available locally, Cordingly says.
Sgt. Jill Baron, of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, started a local chapter of HEARTBEAT, a support group for survivors of suicide, one year ago. Baron lost her brother-in-law to suicide.
The local HEARTBEAT chapter holds meetings the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m., at the Eagle Fire Station. The group, along with other community groups, hosted an information session on suicide two days earlier in Eagle, in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Week, which was Sept. 7-13.
Many neighbors at the Mountain Stream Apartments still didn’t know what had happened by Wednesday.
One man, who lives just upstairs from where the shooting happened and didn’t want to be identified, says police came and asked questions Monday night, but they didn’t say much about what happened. Police asked if the man had anything in his apartment, referring to bullet holes in the walls or other evidence, the man assumed.
He had nothing.
“You wouldn’t think something like that could happen in a community like this,” he says.
Another neighbor on the same floor as the crime scene, Justin Miller, says he was home listening to music and didn’t hear anything either. He says neighbors gathered around outside when the police were there trying to find out what happened.
Three other neighbors also said they heard nothing that night. Rathmell said he didn’t know the people who lived in the apartment. He knew they were in their late teens or early 20s, and said nothing out of the ordinary ever happened there other than the typical noise or partying you might hear from any apartment with residents that age.
“This kind of thing hits you hard, being a neighbor,” Rathmell says.
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