Responders stop suicide attempt in Rifle
Fast action and quick thinking on the part of law enforcement and emergency responders Tuesday prevented a suicidal man from lighting himself on fire in Rifle.
The 31-year-old male had been working with mental health professionals as well as community corrections prior to calling community corrections around 3 p.m. Tuesday to direct them to a suicide note, Rifle Police Chief John Dyer said. About 28 minutes later, dispatch received a call informing them that the man was outside the Mind Springs Health Rifle location near Grand River Hospital, and that the man had a can of gasoline.
When law enforcement arrived at the scene the man had already dumped the gasoline on himself and was holding a lighter. A Rifle police officer immediately engaged the man to try and calm him down, Dyer said.
As the officer engaged the man, other responders hatched a plan to secure the man without harm. Firefighters with Colorado River Fire Rescue (CRFR) maneuvered around the opposite side of the building undetected and sprayed the man with a fire hose — knocking him off balance and preventing him from igniting the lighter.
The incident was resolved by 3:55 p.m. and the man was physically unharmed. He was transported to a hospital for mental health treatment, according to Dyer.
“Our hope is that he’s going to get the care he needs so that he can be safe going forward,” he said.
Dyer credited his officers, CRFR and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, which also responded to the incident.
“The cooperation that we got in resolving that situation … it’s always good, in your profession, in my profession, it’s always good to have people working with you,” Dyer added.
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Newly hired Rifle Police Officer Kalob Foreman refers to the feeling as getting “Monday-morning quarterbacked to death.”