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Wilton Manors Police Department

Wilton Manors PD

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Message From The Chief
Chief

SUICIDE BY COP 

This past September WMPD responded to an emergency call for help in the 2900 block of N.W. 9th Terrace.  As reported by the Sun-Sentinel (9/09/14), the callers stated to police dispatch that a man was trying to enter their home, that he was armed with a gun and that he had shot out some windows using that firearm. In addition, he had threatened to harm the occupants of that home.  The callers were in fear for their lives.

Upon arrival our police officers were confronted by Thomas Carberry who was armed with a firearm.  The police officers repeatedly ordered Carberry to drop the firearm.  He refused stating, “Just do it” as he advanced, gun in hand, towards the officers.  The police officers were left with no choice but to “stop the threat.”  Sgt. Shawver and Officer Ferguson discharged their respective firearms striking the subject several times.  He later died of his wounds.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office (as per a 2011 agreement) responded to the scene and will conduct the investigation.  We have no estimate of how long that investigation will take.  In addition and thereafter, the entire incident will be reviewed by the Broward State Attorney’s Office and a Grand Jury which will take a significant amount of time.  

In the meantime, our community has been left with a feeling of shock and dismay.  Why would someone exit our world like this?  This kind of scenario has been labeled “Suicide by Cop,” which has been defined as “a situation where individuals deliberately place themselves and/or others at grave risk in a manner that compels the use of deadly force by police officers.” (See “Suicide by Cop,” D. Kennedy, R. Homant & R.T. Hupp, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, August 1998).

iacp logoPlease allow me to quote from this article written by Tony Salvatore and published in the International Association of Chiefs of Police website; www.iacpnet.com (document #634279; Suicide by Cop: Broadening our Understanding, 9/11/14).

“The Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide (IPPT) indicates that a potentially fatal suicide attempt requires a strong desire to die and the capability for lethal self-harm.  An attempt occurs only when both are present in an individual.  The intense desire to die often comes from the belief that one is a burden to others or does not belong.  A sense of burden can result when people feel they are a liability and have not fulfilled expectations. This leads to thinking that life has no value.  Strong unmet needs for social relationships and the perception that no one cares produce feelings of failed belongingness.

For a suicide to occur, more than a desire to die is necessary; an individual also must be capable of ending life.  That person must overcome fear, pain, and the instinct for self-preservation.  This can result from abuse, trauma, or a history of violence and may be a byproduct of past attempts or mentally practicing a suicide plan.”

IPPT helps explain “Suicide by Cop” by indicating that a suicide attempt:

  • Is the outcome of a plan;
  • Requires the capability to expose oneself to lethal harm;
  • Becomes more likely when a plan is ruminated upon over time; and
  • Is facilitated by exposure to violence.

This article goes on to explain that in the final phase of “suicide by cop” the volitional phase; “there is a resolute commitment to terminating one’s life per a specific plan.  The person has the established means and the capability for lethal self-harm” and the plan becomes “operational.” 

David and Terry (the two occupants within the house and the persons who called the police) confirmed much of what is noted in the Salvatore article above.  David was quoted in the Sun-Sentinel (9/09/14) stating, “When he walked out of here, he wanted to be killed.  He hated how drugs had taken over his life.” 

Drug abuse is a scourge that afflicts, not just our community, but our entire country.  We all have a friend or a family member who has been plagued by some type of addiction; be it alcohol or narcotics.  There is hope and there is help.  For more information about this important subject and how you can find help for a friend or a family member, go to www.drugfree.org or visit Broward County’s website at www.broward.org and explore the link titled “Broward Addiction Recovery.”

Our two police officers have returned to full duty after the required administrative leave and professional counseling; both of which are the industry standard in police involved shootings.  Being back on the job was the beginning of the healing process. The entire Wilton Manors Police Department thanks our community for its outpouring of support.  It reminded us that we truly are “a community of one.”

As always, the Wilton Manors Police Department is at your service day or night, 24/7.   Feel free to visit us on our website at www.wmpd.org or visit us at City Hall during normal business hours.

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EMERGENCY  9-1-1

Non-Emergency / Dispatch
(954) 764 - HELP   (4357)

Information/Administration

954 390-2150
954 390-2189 Fax

Chief of Police
Paul O'Connell
954 390-2162
poconnell@wmpd.org

Commander of Operations
Gary Blocker
954 390-2185
gblocker@wmpd.org

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