Islander tries to take his life in public

On Tuesday, July 25, a 70-year-old man with self-inflicted cuts was found near the top of a public stairway, near Friday Harbor’s American Legion.

“He’s receiving the help he needs and I hope he finds peace,” said San Juan County Undersheriff Brent Johnson.

Later, deputies determined the man had cut himself on an outside bench in front of the San Juan County Courthouse, then moved across the street to the stairway that leads to the port, said Johnson. EMS agents found wounds on his neck and arms. There were no witnesses to the incident.

A passerby called EMS around 11:55 a.m., stating there was a man, whose head was bleeding, near the top of the stairs, said San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs.

The man had a suicide note with him, said Krebs. He mailed the same letter to the county sheriff and coroner’s offices. Krebs said the letter arrived at the sheriff’s office at about 2 p.m., on the same day as the incident.

About an hour after the EMS call, deputies determined the man cut himself in front of the courthouse when blood was found on a bench.

Johnson described the man as a “long-term island resident” with “medical issues.” This was the first time the police were involved with him hurting himself, said Johnson.

The man received emergency care on San Juan Island, then was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. His evacuation occurred within about 20 minutes of the EMS call, said Krebs. Johson said the man survived and is receiving treatment.

For information on suicide prevention, contact Compass Health in Friday Harbor at 378-2669.