Suicidal SJ man who cut own throat dies in police custody

SAN JACINTO — A suicidal man who had already slashed his own throat and was bleeding profusely by the time authorities arrived to help him had to be subdued with a Taser early Thursday evening, July 11. Despite life saving efforts by deputies as well as medical personnel, the suicidal and knife-wielding man later died from his self-inflicted knife wounds.

Because the man’s death happened after a law enforcement use of force, Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit officials are now investigating the circumstances that ultimately led to his passing, Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Wallace Clear reported today, July 15.

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Deputies assigned to San Jacinto Sheriff’s Station were dispatched to a private residence on the 300 block of Angela Way, in the area of S. Wateka St. and Ramona Blvd., at 6:46 p.m., after receiving reports of an attempted suicide, according to Clear.

“The deputies arrived within minutes and were directed by the reporting party to a family member in the backyard with a self-inflicted knife wound,” Clear explained. The man was later identified as 28-year-old, Jose Andres Lopez.

Upon entering the backyard, deputies encountered Lopez, who was bleeding profusely from the neck and still armed with a knife.

One area resident later described to RCNS hearing several deputies issuing numerous loud, verbal commands for Lopez to drop the knife so they could help him and provide medical treatment for his self-inflicted knife wounds. Despite trying to calm and reason with the suicidal subject, Lopez refused to obey the deputies’ commands and continued brandishing the bloody knife he had already used to injure himself with.

Deputies finally deployed a “less-lethal” Taser device, which successfully caused Lopez to drop the knife at which time deputies rushed in to handcuff the suicidal man so they could begin providing him with medical aid.

After he was safely detained and handcuffed, deputies performed life-saving measures until paramedics arrived and took over efforts, according to Clear.

Medics rushed Lopez by ambulance to an area hospital for treatment of his self-inflicted injuries where he later died. Clear did not specify when Lopez passed away, or if he died the same day of the reported incident.

“Since Lopez died following a use of force by department members, investigators from the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit assumed the investigation which is still ongoing,” explained Clear; saying, “The official cause of death will be determined by the Riverside County Coroner’s Bureau.”

Clear has encouraged anyone who may have witnessed any or all of the deadly incident and has not yet provided a statement to officials to contact Central Homicide Investigator Stoyer at (951) 955-2777, or Hemet Station Investigator Martinez at (951) 791-3400. Callers can refer to incident file number I191920086 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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