Off-duty Sebastian County deputy helps armed, suicidal man

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — An off-duty deputy working a security detail at a Fort Smith hospital helped defuse a situation involving an armed man threatening to kill himself, according to a Facebook post by the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office.

The report states that at approximately 2 a.m. on Tuesday, the deputy was called to the emergency room regarding a “person acting suspicious, and armed with a holstered weapon.”

The deputy entered the ER and a hospital security officer explained that the armed man had entered a restroom. According to the post, the deputy approached the man in the rest room and attempted to speak with him, which the armed man refused to do. He then drew his gun.

The deputy took cover and drew his service weapon, according to the post, while maintaining visual contact with the armed man and asking him to drop his weapon. When the man declined, the deputy called for additional units to assist.

The report states that the deputy recognized the situation as a mental health emergency thanks to prior training on the subject. As additional units arrived, the deputy continued to speak to the armed man, learning his name and addressing him by his first name.

The deputy told the subject that he did not want to harm him but wanted to help him, assuring the armed man that he would assist him in getting help. The man then placed his gun on the floor and surrendered to the deputy.

The post states that the deputy helped the man obtain mental health treatment.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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