ANTIDEPRESSANTS? Mental Health Worker Arrested in Serial Stabbings

NOTE FROM DR. ANN BLAKE TRACY (www.drugawareness.org):
Keep in mind that the LARGE majority of mental healthworkers take antidepressants. One psych nurse in the mid-west estimated 75% of the workers in her facility were on them.
And am I surprised about the news on this case?!!!! NOPE!!!! I was wondering about this one myself because it brought to mind a woman I worked with years ago who reported that even after coming off her meds (still in withdrawal) could not have a knife, even a butter knife or a pair of scissors, lying around where she would see them because the thought/compulsion to pick it up and stab one of her children was too great.
This young man’s background also reminds me of an awful case I had in Israel several years ago where another shy kid from Israel was given Paxil for “Social Anxiety.” A concerned family member here in the states sent a copy of my book to the family. His parents read my book and were very concerned about the information, but they thought he seemed to be improving (when  mania begins it SEEMS you are getting better because you become more assertive and outgoing), so they decided they would just watch him closely to keep him from having any serious reactions. But he got upin the middle of the night, went out and blew up an army jeep, and then began ranting about wanting to be a suicide bomber.
Police in Arlington, Va., stopped him for a traffic offense

Aug. 5 and arrested him on a 2008 misdemeanor assault charge from Leesburg, Va., where he had lived and worked in the mentalhealth field. A hammer and a knife were found inside the Chevrolet Blazer, which was returned to him after his brief detention. There was no national alert for Abuelazam or his vehicle.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100813/ap_on_re_us/us_serial_stabbings

Police: Israeli man also suspect in Israel attack

By DIAA HADID, Associated Press Writer Diaa Hadid, Associated Press Writer – 45 mins ago

RAMLE, Israel – Israeli police said Friday the suspect instabbings in three states also was a suspect in a separate stabbing attack in Israel earlier this year, but charges were never pressed.

A senior police commander said Elias Abuelazam was believed to have stabbed a close acquaintance during an argument in a parked car in central Israel about six months ago. The commander said police dropped the case because the victim refused to cooperate with investigators.

The commander spoke on condition of anonymity because he was barred from speaking to the media under official policy.

Abuelazam is suspected of attacking people in Michigan, Ohio and Virginia, leaving five people dead and 13 wounded. He was arrested Wednesday in Atlanta as he prepared to board a flight to his native Israel.

The 33-year-old man appeared in an Atlanta courtroom on Friday, agreeing during a brief hearing to return to Michigan to face charges in one of the attacks  an attempted murder in a July 27 knife strike in Flint, Mich., that put the victim in a hospital for a week. Authorities said more charges were expected in the three states.

Abuelazam, who was expressionless as he responded to questions from Judge Richard Hicks, first told Hicks he wanted to stay in Georgia and face the charges. But Hicks told him he would have to return to Michigan if he wanted to fight them.

After Hicks explained the process further, Abuelazam agreed to waive an extradition fight, a process that could take months, and go back to Michigan.

“All right, then I’ll do so,” he said. “It sounds more logical to go right now than in 90 days.”

But moments after the hearing ended, Abuelazam’s attorney called Fulton County Superior Court to request another hearing. Hicks appeared in the courtroom later Friday and said Abuelazam had waived extradition.

In Ramle, a hardscrabble Israeli town southeast of Tel Aviv with a mixed Jewish-Arab population, residents in the Arab neighborhood where Abuelazam grew up expressed shock that the shy son of a respected family could be a suspect insuch a gruesome crime spree.

“I wouldn’t believe it even if I saw it with my own eyes,” said Abuelazam’s cousin, also named Elias Abuelazam. He said the news had devastated the suspect’s mother. “I was there last night. She couldn’t stand up. She took medicine to reduce her blood pressure. She was hysterical.”

But the senior Israeli police official said Abuelazam was believed to be the attacker in the car stabbing months ago. The official said he and the close acquaintance got into an argument and Abuelazam pulled out a screwdriver and stabbed the other man in the face.

The official said Ramle police investigated, but because the victim refused to press charges, authorities could not arrest Abuelazam.

Ramle’s 3,000-member Arab Christian community is extremely tight knit, and residents were extremely cautious about discussing Abuelazam’s past.

The Flint stabbings started in May, shortly after Abuelazam is believed to have returned to the U.S. from Israel, with the attacker approaching men on lonely roads at night and asking for directions or help with a broken-down car. Then he would pull out a knife, plunge it into his victim and speed away.

A tip  one of more than 500  led police this week to a market inMount Morris Township, outside Flint, where Abuelazam had worked for a month. Investigators talked to employees, and a store video showed that he matched the description of the man wanted by authorities.

Abuelazam, however, was gone: He told people he was off to Virginia and hadn’t been seen since his Aug. 1 shift.

Police in Arlington, Va., stopped him for a traffic offense Aug. 5 and arrested him on a 2008 misdemeanor assault charge from Leesburg, Va., where he had lived and worked in thementalhealth field. A hammer and a knife were found inside the Chevrolet Blazer, which was returned to him after his brief detention. There was no national alert for Abuelazam or his vehicle.

Virginia authorities “had no idea at that time that he was involved in these crimes,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton in Michigan said.

Abuelazam eventually returned to Michigan, obtained a $3,000 ticket to Tel Aviv from his uncle and made it as far as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where officers snatched the man in flip-flops and shorts after he was paged over the intercom.

The youngest victim was 15; the oldest 67. At least 15 victims were black, although there’s no evidence that race played a role, Leyton said. A motive was not known.

Abuelazam is charged with attacking Antwione Marshall of Flint, who said he was going into his apartment building two weeks ago when an assailant approached and asked for help with his car. Three of his organs were cut, and he has a long scar from his chest to his pelvic area.

Marshall, 26, said he wants to retaliate but “I’ll let God handle it. Every time I look at my scar, I get angry.”

Killed were David Motley, 31, Emmanuel A. Muhammad, 59, Darwin Marshall, 43, and Arnold R. Minor, 49, all of Flint, and Frank Kellybrew, 60, of Flint Township. They died before Aug. 4, when authorities concluded the attacks were the work of aserial killer.

Even if the assaults are over, at least some fear remains inFlint, the battered industrial city 14 of the stabbings, including all five deaths, occurred.

“It makes you not want to give anybody a hand with a vehicle if it breaks down,” Aldridge Gardner, 46, said as he waited for a bus. “If it was a female, I would help her. If it was a guy, no, I’d be skeptical.”

____

Associated Press Writers Kate Brumback in Atlanta; Corey Williams in Flint, Mich.; David Runk in Flint; Ed White inDetroit; Greg Bluestein in Atlanta; Nafeesa Syeed inWashington; and Matthew Barakat in Leesburg, Va., contributed to this report.

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DEPRESSION MED: Man Accused of Plotting to Kill Deputies: Washington

Paragraph eight reads: “A woman who helped raise McConnachie told KIRO 7
that he has a drug problem and is on medication for depression.”

http://www.kirotv.com/news/23142654/detail.html

Officials: Man Accused Of Plotting To Kill Deputies Had Officer’s Stolen
Gun
Posted: 5:31 pm PDT April 13, 2010Updated: 2:45 pm PDT April 14, 2010

EVERETT, Wash. — A 19-year-old man accused of planning to kill sheriff’s
deputies had a gun stolen from the home of a police officer, said Rebecca
Hover of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

Michael McConnachie made his first court appearance Tuesday and his bail
is set at $350,000. He is being held for investigation of conspiracy and
drug charges.

McConnachie was arrested at an Everett motel on Sunday after police
received a tip. Everett police said a burglary suspect who went to McConnachie’s
motel room said McConnachie claimed to be looking for a driver who would
help him kill deputies.

Inside his room, police said they found a shotgun, a handgun, bullet proof
vests and heroin. One of the guns found was reported stolen in January
from the home of a police officer who lives and works in Snohomish County,
Hover said.

The officer is not a deputy, but Hover did not say what agency he works
for.

Investigators said McConnachie was planning an attack similar to the
Thanksgiving weekend assassination of four Lakewood police officers.

Hover said it appeared to be more than idle talk.

A woman who helped raise McConnachie told KIRO 7 that he has a drug
problem and is on medication for depression.

“He does have an anger management problem, but I have never ever heard him
talk the way he’s being accused of talking to the officers,” said Betty
Firl.

Police said McConnachie told them he didn’t intend to hurt anyone.

Copyright 2010 by KIROTV.com. The Associated Press contributed to this
report. All rights reserved. This material may not

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ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL: NC man gets 27 years in mother’s beating death

YET ANOTHER INDICATION OF HOW HORRIFIC
ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL CAN BE. REACHING FOR ILLEGAL DRUGS OR ALCOHOL IN ORDER
TO LESSEN THE WITHDRAWAL EFFECTS WHEN YOU CANNOT GET YOUR ANTIDEPRESSANT IS A
COMMON REPORT.

His attorney says Heath had been drinking and smoking
crack the night of the killing. She also says her client had been waiting for an
appointment at a Veteran’s Affair clinic for a refill of his antidepressant
medication.

NC man gets 27 years in mother’s beating death

The Associated Press
Posted: Friday, Apr. 30, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. A North Carolina man has been sentenced to nearly three
decades in prison in the beating death of his 83-year-old mother.

The Charlotte Observer reported that 56-year-old Jerry Heath was sentenced to
27 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.

Authorities say Heath killed his mother over $35. Prosecutors say Jerry Heath
hit Annie Heath with a lamp in November after she refused to give him more
money.

The Charlotte man wept as his relatives told a judge they weren’t mad at
Heath.

His attorney says Heath had been drinking and smoking crack the night of the
killing. She also says her client had been waiting for an appointment at a
Veteran’s Affair clinic for a refill of his antidepressant medication.

Information from: The Charlotte Observer,
http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/04/30/1407185/ncmangets27yearsin-mothers.html#ixzz0mbP8tmbC

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show details Apr 30 (6 days ago)
NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):
Welcome to abrupt antidepressant withdrawal!!!! Few things are more
dangerous! I have warned of this for 18 years now and in 2005 the FDA warned
that ANY abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide,
hostility and/or psychosis as a result. How tragic that the Heath family has
learned how true that is by first hand experience. To safely withdraw patients
MUST go extremely slowly down off these drugs.
And the fact remains that if Jerry Heath had substance abuse problems
before his use of an antidepressant he should NEVER have been prescribed one and
if he had no substance abuse problems before the prescription, those cravings
were induced by the use of the antidepressant. I AM SO SICK OF SEEING PEOPLE
WITH THESE PROBLEMS BEING GIVEN THESE DEADLY DRUGS WE CALL “ANTIDEPRESSANTS” AND
THE VA ARE AMONG THE VERY WORST AT HANDING THEM OUT LIKE CANDY!

NC man gets 27 years in mother’s beating death

The Associated Press
Posted: Friday, Apr. 30, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. A North Carolina man has been sentenced to nearly three
decades in prison in the beating death of his 83-year-old mother.

The Charlotte Observer reported that 56-year-old Jerry Heath was sentenced to
27 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.

Authorities say Heath killed his mother over $35. Prosecutors say Jerry Heath
hit Annie Heath with a lamp in November after she refused to give him more
money.

The Charlotte man wept as his relatives told a judge they weren’t mad at
Heath.

His attorney says Heath had been drinking and smoking crack the night of the
killing. She also says her client had been waiting for an appointment at a
Veteran’s Affair clinic for a refill of his antidepressant medication.

Information from: The Charlotte Observer,
http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/04/30/1407185/ncmangets27yearsin-mothers.html#ixzz0mbmg96tK

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DEPRESSION MED: Murder-Suicide: Man Shoots three Deputies: Kills One

Paragraph five reads:  “Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer
said Friday that Liles
had been taking medication
for depression and probably took his own life with a gunshot to the
head.”

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-minkler27-2010feb27,0,2450243,full.story

A slow burn suddenly turns deadly in Minkler, Calif.

First there was a series of fires in the small town east of Fresno. Then
came the shootings. On Thursday, a shootout left a sheriff’s deputy dead and two
other law enforcement officers injured.

(Paul Sakuma /
Associated Press / February 26, 2010)

By Diana Marcum

February
27, 2010

Reporting from Minkler ­ Trouble had been brewing in tiny
Minkler, a Sierra foothills community about 20 miles east of Fresno, for months.
But residents never envisioned that it would end with two people — one a
sheriff’s deputy — dead and two other law enforcement officers
wounded.

Joel Wahlenmaier, 49, a veteran with the Fresno County Sheriff’s
Department who investigated homicides and other violent crimes, was killed in
Thursday’s gunfire. Deputy Mark Harris, 48, was injured.

Javier Bejar, a
Reedley police officer who responded to the call for backup in the minutes after
Wahlenmaier was shot, is on life support at Community Regional Medical Center in
Fresno and is not expected to survive.

The suspect, Ricky Ray Liles, 51,
died during the gun battle that erupted when authorities attempted to serve him
with a search warrant.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Friday that
Liles had been taking medication for depression and probably took his own life
with a gunshot to the head.

Liles had told his wife “that he would not go
to prison,” Dyer said at a news conference. “He would take the lives of several
officers before taking his own life.”

On Friday, what there is of Minkler
was cordoned off as a crime scene, helicopters buzzing overhead.

But
Minkler’s worries began about five months ago with small fires. A bunch of
leaves here, a patch of grass there.

“You’d come out and say, ‘How did
that tractor seat catch on fire?’ ” said rancher Jeff Rodenbeck,
51.

Eventually, a shed and a trailer burned. Then the shootings started.
Someone shot up the Minkler Cash Store six times since January. On Monday,
someone fired four bullets into Sally Minkler’s mobile home.

“Sally said
she bent over to get her cellphone and the bullet went right where her torso had
been,” said Mary Novack, who runs the Minkler Cash Store, the nerve-center and
commercial entirety of Minkler, a town so small it once was listed for sale on
EBay.

Residents were convinced the culprit was Liles, a former security
guard renting a mobile home on Minkler family property across from the
store.

“He was just your average pasty white guy with a bad back,” said
Jeff Butts, who grows grapes and plums along the Kings River.

“But when
you know all your neighbors, you look around and say, ‘Well, I know it’s not
Mary, and it’s not Charlie and it’s not Sally’ . . . and pretty soon everyone
came up with Liles,” Butts said. “He wasn’t friends with anyone. But no one ever
actually saw anything they could prove. Things were getting tense out
here.”

On Thursday morning, Novack was relieved when she saw law
enforcement vehicles pull up to Liles’ place. She called Butts and told him cops
were about to knock on Liles’ door.

“Hey, this guy is finally going down,
let’s go to the store and watch,” Butts said he told one of his
workers.

A small crowd gathered on the front porch of the general store,
which has held court in Minkler since 1920. They watched as a deputy kicked in
the door, shots were fired, an officer slumped, more law enforcement came and a
prolonged gun battle raged.

“I was stunned. I didn’t even get down,”
Butts said. “I kept thinking, ‘What are they doing? Those can’t be real
bullets.’ The cops are saying hundreds of rounds were fired, but it had to be
thousands.”

He was incredulous when a woman, later identified as Liles’
wife, Diane, and a dog emerged from the trailer. “I don’t see how anyone came
out of that alive,” Butts said.

Half a mile down the road, Rodenbeck
heard the first volley of shots. He loaded a pistol and rifle, and got his wife
and teenage daughter away from the house in case gunmen emerged from the woods
behind their home. Then he went to see what was going on.

When the bigger
gun battle began, he crouched inside his truck’s tire well.

“Look, this
is the country, gunfire is not a big deal, you hear it all the time. Someone’s
shooting at coyotes. Or skeet,” he said. “But this was a war zone. It sounded
like the cops had automatic rifles and they kept shooting. If you’d been here,
you would have hit the ground. It rocked this place. He killed a cop right in
front of them, and they don’t take lightly to that and I can’t say I blame
them.”

Rodenbeck moved to Minkler from Huntington Beach to raise his
family away from the city. He likes the beauty — “this is river bottom, green
all the time” — the quiet, and the fact that men such as Charles Minkler, the
great-grandson of Orzo Minkler, who founded the town in 1892, can still load
1,000 bales of hay. Minkler is in his 70s.

“Out here, men don’t get old.
They get beat up and wrinkled, but they don’t use canes,” Rodenbeck said. “They
have chores to do.”

But he was never under any illusion that violence
couldn’t touch this place.

“They say they used to hang people from that
tree over there,” he said. “Charlie can tell you about the bandits that used to
hide out in these hills. Different people have different reasons for wanting to
be out somewhere quiet.”

Novack, 54, recalls drug-dealing motorcycle
gangs in the 1970s. As a teenager, she glimpsed white-robed Ku Klux Klan members
burning crosses at the river’s edge.

“That’s a sight you never forget,”
Novack said. “It’s chilling.”

She looked around at the orchards in bloom,
snow-dusted peaks and sheepdogs trying to make friends with the
police.

“People are saying, ‘In Minkler? It’s so beautiful and quiet
there.’ But good and evil are everywhere,” she said. “Right in front of you.
Right next to each other all the time.”

metrodesk@latimes.com

Marcum is a
special correspondent for The Times.

The Associated Press contributed to
this report.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles
Times

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DEPT. of DEFENSE: Link Between Vet Suicides & Medications

Paragraph six of main article reads:  “Quality data
collection and analysis are critical components behind effective prevention
efforts. The Department made great strides over the last 12 months on gathering
critical information to understand the complexity of factors leading to suicide
and ways to prevent such tragedies from occurring within our communities. Data
collected by the DoD Suicide Event Report (DoDSER) tell us that we must continue
to educate our population and build programs, as there continue to be multiple
opportunities to intervene. For example, we are learning that 30% of individuals
who died by suicide communicated their potential self harm; 49% had been
seen in a medical/support clinic/program within 30 days of suicide;
and
26% sought broadly defined mental health resources.”

Paragraph 34 of main
article reads:  “In recent years, antidepressant medications,
particularly the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have
been closely evaluated for the increased risk of suicide-related behaviors in
adolescents and young adults associated with their use
. In recognition

of this risk, the FDA’s requires a “black box” warning in the product labeling
of all antidepressant medications that advises clinicians to closely monitor any
worsening in depression, emergence of suicidal thinking or behavior, or unusual
changes in behavior, such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from social
situations. Close monitoring is especially important during the first four weeks
of treatment. The FDA also recognizes that depression and other psychiatric
disorders are themselves associated with increased risks for
suicide.”

http://www.pennlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/national-15/12670299869190.xml&storylist=health

Link Between Medication And Veteran Suicide

2/24/2010, 10:27 a.m. EST
The Associated Press

(AP) ­ xfdte MEDICATION-AND-SUICIDE sked

TESTIMONY February
24, 2010 LOREE K. SUTTON, M.D. DIRECTOR U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HOUSE
VETERANS AFFAIRS LINK BETWEEN MEDICATION AND VETERAN SUICIDE Roll Call, Inc.
1255 22nd Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20037 Transcript/Programming: Tel.
301-731-1728 Sales: Tel. 202-419-8500 ext 599 sales@cqrollcall.com www.cqrollcall.com Roll Call, Inc. is a private firm not
affiliated with the U.S. Government. Copyright 2010 by Roll Call, Inc.
Washington, D.C. U.S.A. All materials herein are protected by United States
copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed,
published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call, Inc.
You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies

of the content.Statement of Loree K. Sutton, M.D. Director, Defense Centers of
Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Special Assistant
to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs U.S. Department of

Defense

February 24, 2010

Introduction

Chairman Filner, Mr.
Buyer, distinguished Members of the Committee; thank you for the opportunity to
appear here today to talk to you about the Department of Defense‘s (DoD) efforts
to reduce the number of suicides across our force.

On behalf of DoD, I
want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued, strong support
and demonstrated commitment to our service members, veterans, and their
families.

Over the last nine years, a new era of combat emerged, where
counterinsurgency and asymmetric warfare are the norm. This shift continues to
place a great amount of strain on our most important resource, our service
members. Despite the operational challenges facing them and their families, they
remain incredibly resilient, motivated, and well-trained. The Department
recognizes the need to provide the resources and programs necessary to maintain
their resilience and motivation. Our core messages tell our service members and
their families that they are not alone; treatment works; the earlier the
intervention the better; and reaching out is an act of courage and
strength.

The Department also recognizes that the total number and rate

of suicides continue to rise and this is of deep concern at all leadership
levels. Today, I will share with the Committee our current efforts to reduce the
number of suicides across the Force, and the role of medication and
suicides.

Suicide has a multitude of causes, and no simple solution.
There are many potential areas for intervention, and it is difficult to pinpoint
the best approach because each suicide is unique. Recognizing this, DoD is
tackling the challenge using a multi- pronged strategy involving comprehensive
prevention education, research, and outreach. We believe in fostering a holistic
approach to treatment, leveraging primary care for early recognition and
intervention, and when needed, providing innovative specialty care. The areas of

focus to reduce risk include: (1) conducting data collection and analysis to
detect contributing risk factors; (2) facilitating partnerships across DoD,
federal agencies, and civilian organizations to increase collaboration and
communication; (3) reducing stigma and increasing access to resources to provide
needed care; and (4) using research to close gaps and identify best practices.
Data Surveillance

Quality data collection and analysis are critical
components behind effective prevention efforts. The Department made great
strides over the last 12 months on gathering critical information to understand
the complexity of factors leading to suicide and ways to prevent such tragedies
from occurring within our communities. Data collected by the DoD Suicide Event
Report (DoDSER) tell us that we must continue to educate our population and
build programs, as there continue to be multiple opportunities to intervene. For
example, we are learning that 30% of individuals who died by suicide
communicated their potential self harm; 49% had been seen in a medical/support
clinic/program within 30 days of suicide; and 26% sought broadly defined mental
health resources.

Historically, the Services used unique suicide
surveillance systems. In January 2008, the National Center for Telehealth and
Technology (T2), a Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) component center,
launched the DoDSER Annual Report. The DoDSER Annual Report was developed to
standardize data collection and reporting. Pulling data from all branches of the
military, it captures over 250 data-points per suicide with details, summaries,
and analyses of a wide range of potential contributing factors. DoDSER Annual
Report data include specific demographics, suicide event details, treatment, and
military history, among others. The variables are designed to map directly to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death
Reporting System to support direct comparisons between military and civilian
populations.

By standardizing data and reporting,
DoD tracks and analyzes suicide data and contributing risk factors proactively
to inform and improve future prevention, intervention, and treatment services.
The DoDSER Annual Report is revised annually based on input from the Services.
The data facilitate the review and evaluation of the effectiveness of suicide
prevention initiatives and their execution over time. DoDSER represents the
strides DoD has taken to better understand what some of the
underlying factors are for suicide. The Department uses this tool to inform
current efforts and initiatives. []

According to the Armed Forces
Medical Examiner System (AFMES), in January 2010 there were 24 confirmed

suicides, all in Regular Components within the DoD. In calendar year 2009, AFMES
reported that there were 312 confirmed suicides, with 286 confirmed in Regular
Components and 26 confirmed in the Reserve Components. Demographic risk factors
include: male, Caucasian, E-1 to E-4, younger than 25 years old, GED or less
than high school education, divorced, and in the Active Duty Component. Other
factors associated with suicide, which are consistent with data from civilian
populations, are: substance abuse, relationship issues, and legal,
administrative (Article 15), and financial problems. Although the impact of
deployment is still under investigation, a majority of suicides do not occur in
the theaters of operation. 16% of suicides occurred in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Despite the knowledge gained and data collected, it is important to resist
oversimplifying or generalizing statistics. Each suicide is as different as a
person is unique.

According to AFMES, there were 26 confirmed suicides in
calendar year 2009 among the Reserve Components, which include all Active Guard
and Reserves. Due to the unique nature of their service, there are challenges
associated with capturing all suicide completions, preparatory behavior and self
harm without intent to die among National Guard and Reserve populations when
they are not on active or activated status. To address this issue, DoD is
examining ways to utilize information gathered from existing tracking and
reporting systems including, but not limited to, insurance and benefit data. The
DoD continues to support National Guard and Reserve populations through numerous
initiatives to increase outreach, care, and resources on all fronts.

The
numbers also tell us that prevention is not enough, as 36% of military suicides

had a history of a mental disorder. The integrated efforts of prevention,
intervention, and treatment are essential to DoD’s approach to tackle the
challenge of suicide.

Facilitating Partnerships

Continued
collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other federal,
private, and academic organizations is a key part of DoD’s overall
strategy.

Conferences serve as dissemination and outreach platforms by
providing local and regional coordinators with innovative ideas to implement
within their communities and providing DoD and VA with the opportunity to gather
feedback on communities’ needs. The annual DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference
provides such a forum. With over 900 attendees, the 2010 conference shared
practical applications, results from research and pilot studies, guidance from
senior DoD and VA leaders on the way forward, and testimonies emphasizing the
importance of seeking help.

We work closely with our partners at the VA
to ensure that the transition out of service and into VA care is seamless and
that service members, veterans, and families receive the care they deserve. The
DCoE coordinates information and resources with VA’s National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK), and National Resource Directory. As part of this
partnership, DCoE worked with VA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMHSA) in December of 2009 to modify the introductory
message on the Lifeline, so that callers are instructed to press “1” if they
are a United States military veteran or Active Duty Service Member (ADSM) or are
calling about one. This expansion increases the scope of services that are
available to ADSMs who may be in crisis.

Collaborative care is an example

of an immediate solution that DoD is aggressively implementing. According to
DoDSER data, 36 percent of completed suicides had a history of a mental health
condition. Providing mental health services in conjunction with primary care is
an important part of our prevention strategy because early detection and
intervention is a key to preventing suicide behaviors. Each Service is
developing collaborative care models based on recommendations from a National
Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study. The DCoE collaborates with the Services
to integrate the best practices from these models to develop consistent
standards across DoD. DCoE is currently implementing a controlled trial study at
six sites and 18 clinics of collaborative primary care to inform future
efforts.

In August 2009, the DoD Suicide Prevention Task Force was
established under the purview of the Defense Health Board. The goal of the task
force is to provide recommendations to legislative and administrative bodies on
suicide prevention within the military.

The Department recognizes the
importance of eliminating the toxic threat of stigma by transforming its culture
from reactionary to a more proactive environment by engaging leadership to
encourage transparency, accountability, candor, and respect. The DoD is
promoting awareness among leaders and urging them to lead by example in matters
related to health and well-being. In addition, changes in policies and messages
to all levels help create a safe culture to seek help. One significant change
was the revision of question 21 on the questionnaire for security clearances on
whether a service member has sought mental or behavioral help in the past year.
DoD believes that service members should not have to deny themselves the care
they need and deserve out of fear of repercussions. Our efforts to combat stigma
will continue alongside our efforts to provide the best prevention, intervention
and treatment options.

Additionally, DoD is undergoing a cultural
transformation to push care closer to the service members and their families. An
emphasis on early intervention for antecedent issues such as post- traumatic
stress, depression, and substance abuse can help address needs before they
develop into bigger issues that could contribute to suicides. This population
based approach enables DoD to engage multiple audiences including peers,
families, units, and communities to support suicide prevention, risk reduction,
and overall health promotion. The Services also have programs to address needs
before they develop into issues that must be addressed in a specialty care
setting.

DCoE helps combat stigma through the Real Warriors Campaign, a
public education initiative that reinforces the notion that reaching out is a
sign of strength. Under the theme of “Real Warriors, Real Battles, Real
Strengths,” this effort provides concrete examples of service members who sought
care for psychological health issues and are maintaining a successful military
career. While primarily focused on stigma, the Real Warriors Campaign is
actively engaged in the fight against military suicide in a number of

ways:

The website prominently displays the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline on every page;-Two video profiles of service members involved in the
campaign openly discuss their struggles with suicidal ideation from a position
of strength and optimism having reached out for care that is working; and-The
site allows service members, veterans, families and health professionals to
confidentially reach out to health consultants around the clock through the Real
Warriors Live Chat feature or by calling the DCoE Outreach Center.

The
Campaign’s message boards include numerous posts from service members who share
their coping strategies for dealing with suicidal ideation. The site includes
content that focuses on suicide prevention and substance abuse. Short,
documentary-style videos illustrate the resilience exhibited by service members,
their families, and caregivers.

Since the Real Warriors Campaign launched
in May 2009, the website, www.realwarriors.net,
saw more than 45,500 unique visitors from 127 countries, with more than 69,128
visits and 450,000 page views. The DoD believes that stigma can be defeated by
encouraging and supporting service members to reach out when help is
needed.

critical component of DoD’s strategy is advancing research. As
part of DoD’s research portfolio, the RAND Center for Military Health Policy
Research is reviewing and cataloguing suicide prevention programs across the
Services with recommendations for enhancements of current programs. The results
will be released March 2010 and disseminated to inform future program
development.

A pilot study that showed promise in the civilian sector is
the Caring Letters Program. In a randomized clinical trial, sending brief
letters of concern and reminders of treatment to patients admitted for suicide
attempt, ideation, or for a psychiatric condition was shown to dramatically
reduce the risk of death by suicide. In an effort to determine the applicability
to military populations, the National Center for TeleHealth and Technology (T2)
is piloting a program at Ft Lewis, Washington. The goals of the Caring Letters
Pilot are to (1) test the feasibility of expanding the program to other military
treatment facilities, (2) collect preliminary outcome data, and (3) evaluate the
method of letter transmittal (email vs. postal mail). Since its inception in
July 2009, 81 letters have been sent. Efforts are currently underway to plan a
multi-site randomized control trial.

Many programs are currently in place
to raise awareness among service members, train civilian providers supporting
our service members and communities, and increase leadership involvement in
behavioral health efforts. The programs are on all levels, from the national
level down into local communities. These initiatives, including programs that
provide face-to-face support or online support, demonstrate DoD’s multi-pronged
approach and commitment to ensuring service members and families have access to
the best resources. Some examples of these efforts are detailed
below:

Each Service has its own suicide prevention initiatives tailored
to its culture. In November 2007, DoD established the DCoE to offer a central
coordinating point for activities related to psychological health concerns and
traumatic brain injuries. DCoE focuses on the full continuum of care and
prevention to enhance coordination among the Services, federal agencies, and
civilian organizations. DCoE works to identify best practices and disseminate
practical resources to affected communities. In this effort, emphasis is placed
on building resilience, supporting recovery, and promoting reintegration to
ensure a comprehensive, multi-faceted, and proactive approach in promoting
health and wellbeing.

The Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee
(SPARRC), chaired by DCoE, provides a forum for inter-Service and VA partnership
and coordination. Members include Suicide Prevention Program Managers from the
Services and representatives from the National Guard Bureau, Reserve Affairs,
VA, Office of Armed Forces Medical Examiner, T2, Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration, and others. This committee is the main venue for
ensuring collaboration and consistency in system-wide communication related to
suicide, risk reduction policy initiatives, and suicide surveillance metrics
across the military. A SPARRC website is currently in development to serve as a
“clearinghouse” for suicide prevention information, contacts, innovative
approaches, and tools.

Additionally, the DCoE Outreach Center coordinates
with Military OneSource, accessible by phone at 1-800-342-9647. Licensed mental
health consultants are available to listen, answer questions, and refer callers
to a wide range of services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Military OneSource provides services on a range of other topics including
education, relocation, and parenting.

Another DoD program that encourages
seeking care is inTransition, which provides a bridge of support for service
members while they are transitioning between health care systems or providers.
The program assigns credentialed “Supercoaches” on a one-on-one basis to service
members in transition. These “Supercoaches” provide support, encouragement, and
promote continued use of behavioral health services.

In an effort to
increase access to resources and align with modern communication platforms, DoD
is harnessing technology and social media tools. Afterdeployment.org, an
interactive website developed by T2, provides service members and families
behavioral health information using an anonymous platform. This mental wellness
resource is designed to help service members and families manage the challenges
faced after a deployment. In addition, Afterdeployment.org launched a series of

free podcasts, available on iTunes, discussing a variety of mental health issues
affecting service members and families. Since the rollout in August 2008,
Afterdeployment.org has seen 86,083 visits to its website. Afterdeployment.org
is currently developing both a mobile version of the site and a mobile
application. The portability will allow access to resources regardless of
location.

Telebehavioral health refers to use of telecommunications and
information technology for clinical and non-clinical behavioral health care
services. Telebehavioral health may include the use of videoconferencing,
web-based cameras, email and telephone. T2 is exploring ways to supply timely
telebehavioral health services to service members in theater and during health
screenings immediately upon return to the continental United States. The use of

technology provides service members and their families access to psychological
health care even in the most extreme and/or remote circumstances. Medication and
Suicide Risk

The Department supports the use of psychopharmacological
treatments as a key component of mental health care. Scientific evidence over
the past several decades points to the role of medications in limiting the
severity and duration of illness as well as for preventing relapses and
recurrences. These findings have been translated into recommendations for
clinicians in the VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines for Major Depressive
Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychoses and Substance Use Disorder.
These guidelines are updated periodically as required to reflect the most
current knowledge concerning each of these conditions. Recognizing that all

medications carry potential risks as well as benefits, clinicians must exercise
their judgment in applying these guidelines and determining the most effective
use of medications, other therapies which include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,
Cognitive Processing Therapy and/or Prolonged Exposure treatment, or a
combination of medication and therapy. Therapy must be monitored, with careful
attention to diagnosis, dosing, clinical response and potential adverse
events.

In recent years, antidepressant medications, particularly the use
of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have been closely evaluated
for the increased risk of suicide-related behaviors in adolescents and young
adults associated with their use. In recognition of this risk, the FDA’s
requires a “black box” warning in the product labeling of all antidepressant

medications that advises clinicians to closely monitor any worsening in
depression, emergence of suicidal thinking or behavior, or unusual changes in
behavior, such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from social
situations. Close monitoring is especially important during the first four weeks
of treatment. The FDA also recognizes that depression and other psychiatric
disorders are themselves associated with increased risks for
suicide.

Accordingly, the Department uses multiple tools to address the
identified risk for antidepressant as well as other medications, as scientific
evidence reaches the threshold for action. These methods include dissemination
of safety alerts to clinicians, patient information sheets, pharmacy monitoring
for harmful combinations of prescribed medications, adherence to The Joint
Commission standards governing medication reconciliation, compliance with the
reporting of adverse events, increasingly sophisticated use pharmacotherapeutic
analysis as well as training and education programs in evidence-based modalities
reflecting the most current clinical practice guidelines.

The DoDSER data
base, while still maturing, provides an unprecedented repository of Service
suicide surveillance data that will continue to inform our efforts. Further, we
look forward to the payoff from continued research investments.

Way
Forward

Suicide is a problem that needs solutions now. DoD is focused on
rapidly translating best practices into applicable tools for service members and
families. At the same time, DoD continues to improve on collaborative
relationships across the Services and with national experts, collecting data,
and in research efforts that will accelerate improvements in current services
and programs as well as spur new innovations. In addition, DoD will also
continue to evolve and leverage our population-based system to push innovations
in prevention and care toward the service member and family.

DoD’s
current initiatives to address the challenges placed on service members and
their families are progressing, but we recognize that there is still much to be
done. In order to build on our current efforts and successfully shift to a model

of population-based care, we identified the following areas of additional
focus.

An issue of increasing concern is suicides of military family
members and how to support surviving families. At this point in time, DoD does
not track suicides of military family members. However, DoD recognizes the
importance of engaging and supporting this population, as their sacrifices
deserve our recognition. The DoD Suicide Prevention Task Force met this year
with surviving families at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
Seminar. The DoD Task Force will provide recommendations to the Secretary of

Defense and Congress. Efforts will be focused on increasing outreach to
families; providing families with more education and training to recognize the
signs of suicidal behavior and where to seek help; and supporting families after
a suicide event. In addition, for calendar year 2010, SPARRC partnered with TAPS
to form a sub-committee to identify additional needs of families and to
recommend concrete solutions.

Postvention, which refers to all activities
and response after a suicide event, is another area of growing attention. The
goals of postvention include: (1) promote healing, (2) reduce risk of contagion,
and (3) identify those at risk and connect them to help. Postvention is also
viewed as a form of prevention for survivors. This year, DoD will work with the
Services to promote consistent postvention protocols across
programs.

Connect/Frameworks Suicide Postvention Program is a civilian
program that utilizes evidenced supported protocols to promote an integrated
community based response to suicides. Postvention protocols and guidelines
include topics such as discussing cause and method of death; how to address
needs of families; memorial service activities; and media coverage and
messaging.

In addition to prevention, intervention, and treatment, DoD is
shifting attention to increasing resilience. DoD promotes a holistic approach
that optimizes the physical, psychological, and spiritual components of the
human condition. The DoD is also piloting resilience programs in military
settings to determine applicability and effectiveness within military
populations. While the impact of deployment on suicide is still under
investigation, it cannot be denied that an era of high operational tempo and
persistent conflict increases pressure on our warriors. A comprehensive approach
to enhancing resilience actively confronts the increasing stressors service
members face in this environment.

2010 will also provide DoD further
opportunities to demonstrate a public health model of prevention, by supporting
peer-to-peer programs in the Services and continuing to increase the number of

mental health providers in communities. DoD is actively engaged in hiring more
mental health providers and providing them with quality and continued training.
Conclusion

Through our united and concerted efforts, we can continue
making a change for the better. DoD recognizes the need to provide the resources
and programs necessary to maintain the resilience and motivation of our service
members and families. We will continue to emphasize education as we deliver our
core messages. “You are not alone; treatment works; the earlier the intervention
the better; and reaching out is an act of courage and strength.”

We are
devoted to this effort and will continue to work aggressively to prevent the
unnecessary loss of life.

With the Committee’s continued assistance and
support, we will ensure our brave men and women in uniform and their families
have access to the resources they require.

On behalf of the DoD, thank
you for the opportunity to highlight these vital issues. I look forward to your
questions.

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ZOLOFT: NY Judge to Allow Zoloft Defense in Assault Case

Paragraphs two and three read: “The attorney for Coram resident Brandon Hampson says he plans to argue that his client became violent and beat Lisa Essling on Aug. 25, 2006, because he stopped taking the popular antidepressant Zoloft days before the attack.”

“Nassau County District Court Judge Rhonda Fischer said Friday that she will allow a defense witness to testify that withdrawl from the antidepressant can cause a person to become aggressive.”

http://www.newsday.com/ny-judge-to-allow-zoloft-defense-in-assault-case-1.1388026

NY judge to allow “Zoloft defense” in assault case

August 22, 2009 By The Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) A Long Island judge has said she will allow a man accused of punching and kicking his former girlfriend to use the so-called “Zoloft defense.”

The attorney for Coram resident Brandon Hampson says he plans to argue that his client became violent and beat Lisa Essling on Aug. 25, 2006, because he stopped taking the popular antidepressant Zoloft days before the attack.

Nassau County District Court Judge Rhonda Fischer said Friday that she will allow a defense witness to testify that withdrawl from the antidepressant can cause a person to become aggressive.

Prosecutors say they strongly disagree with the court’s decision.

Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer Inc. has said there’s not evidence to suggest that discontinuing the drug can cause violent behavior.

___

Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

1,055 total views, 1 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Police Stop Man From Committing Suicide: England

Paragraphs two and three read: “The attorney for Coram resident Brandon Hampson says he plans to argue that his client became violent and beat Lisa Essling on Aug. 25, 2006, because he stopped taking the popular antidepressant Zoloft days before the attack.”

“Nassau County District Court Judge Rhonda Fischer said Friday that she will allow a defense witness to testify that withdrawl from the antidepressant can cause a person to become aggressive.”

http://www.newsday.com/ny-judge-to-allow-zoloft-defense-in-assault-case-1.1388026

NY judge to allow “Zoloft defense” in assault case

August 22, 2009 By The Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) A Long Island judge has said she will allow a man accused of punching and kicking his former girlfriend to use the so-called “Zoloft defense.”

The attorney for Coram resident Brandon Hampson says he plans to argue that his client became violent and beat Lisa Essling on Aug. 25, 2006, because he stopped taking the popular antidepressant Zoloft days before the attack.

Nassau County District Court Judge Rhonda Fischer said Friday that she will allow a defense witness to testify that withdrawl from the antidepressant can cause a person to become aggressive.

Prosecutors say they strongly disagree with the court’s decision.

Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer Inc. has said there’s not evidence to suggest that discontinuing the drug can cause violent behavior.

___

Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

1,455 total views, 3 views today

Virginia Tech Gunman’s Mental Records Found

Note from Ann Blake-Tracy: The most important records in this case have never
been released. These may be interesting but we still need to know what he had
been prescribed over the period of time before the shooting. Roommates
spoke of him taking his antidepressant that morning, but then we never heard
another word about it.

_http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090722/ap_on_re_us/us_virginia_tech_shooting_
(http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090722/ap_on_re_us/us_virginia_tech_shooting)

By BOB LEWIS and SUE LINDSEY, Associated Press Writers Bob Lewis And Sue
Lindsey, Associated Press Writers â

1,378 total views, no views today

4/13/2001 – Another school shooting & antidepressants

Well, now that it is public information we can let you know that once again
antidepressants were involved in another of the recent school shootings. Beth
Bush had been on antidepressants before shooting a classmate. This article is
from the Washington Post. Of course we are led to believe that the
“antidepressants failed to help”, rather than being educated to the fact that
they were the CAUSE of the shooting.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/nation/latestap/A13049-2001Apr12.html

H.S. Shooter Talks of Taunting

The Associated Press
Thursday, April 12, 2001; 9:19 PM

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. A 14-year-old girl said she shot a classmate last month
to make the victim “know my pain” from repeated teasing and taunting.

Elizabeth Bush told the ABC News program “20/20” that the shooting has played
over repeatedly in her mind since March 7, the day she shot Kim Marchese at
the cafeteria of Bishop Neumann Junior-Senior High School.

Elizabeth, who had transferred into the school a year earlier, told
interviewer Connie Chung that she was deeply depressed and counseling and
anti-depressants failed to help.

“They’d just call me an idiot, stupid, fat, ugly, faggot, whatever,”
Elizabeth said in the interview, which is scheduled to air Friday.

Elizabeth said her depression caused her to cut her arms with a razor. She
said Kim had befriended her but told others about the self-mutilation,
leaving her feeling betrayed.

“People express their anger different ways,” Elizabeth said. “Crying helps.
That didn’t help me. So I thought maybe I’d try this and maybe it will help.
And it’s just like the actually the pain is it just takes away all your
depression and for a minute you’re not depressed anymore.”

She was sentenced April 4 to an open-ended term at a psychiatric facility.

Kim Marchese, who was wounded in the right shoulder, told Chung that she now
knows she should have acted differently.

“I knew the teasing was wrong and that’s why I asked her if it was bothering
her so I would stop,” Kim said, “I mean, I should have stopped right away.”

© 2001 The Associated Press

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10/24/1999 – The Pain in Littleton Continues

A Message from Ann Blake-Tracy…

As if the people of Littleton have not suffered enough via the
Luvox-induced nightmare of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, now they must
go through their own SSRI-induced nightmares!!!! While in Littleton
last month I was told by one of the teachers at Columbine that close to
half of their students are now on something to cope with the
Luvox-induced tragedy carried out by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Oct. 21 we heard that a friend of the boys was arrested for making
threats about finishing the job for Eric and Dylan. Now we hear that
one of the mothers of a wounded student has committed one of the most
impulsive suicides I have heard of to date. The striking impulsive
compulsion to die coupled with the personality changes and loss of the
ability to cope, makes it clear to me that this is without doubt
another SSRI-induced tragedy!

How many more?

How many more?

How many more must die before the bloodshed ends? If you have been
afraid to speak out on this issue, PLEASE do not allow your silence to
contribute to these tragedies any longer!!! We must all warn all we
know that this is a clear and very present danger that MUST
end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org

——————————————————————–
Mom of Columbine Victim Kills Self

By COLLEEN SLEVIN Associated Press Writer

DENVER (AP) — The mother of a student wounded in the Columbine High
School massacre walked into a suburban pawn shop Friday, asked to see a
handgun, loaded it and killed herself with a shot to the head.

Carla June Hochhalter’s suicide occurred about six months after her
17-year-old daughter, Anne Marie, was critically wounded in the April
20 tragedy and left partially paralyzed.

It was not immediately known what other factors might have contributed
to Ms. Hochhalter’s suicide.

Ms. Hochhalter, 48, entered the Alpha Pawn Shop in Englewood Friday
morning and asked to see a handgun.

When a clerk turned around to fill out paperwork, Ms. Hochhalter loaded
the weapon with bullets that she brought, then fired one round that hit
the wall and a second round into her head, Englewood police spokeswoman
Leticia Castillo said.

The suicide was the latest shock for students and families in the
Columbine area. Jefferson County School District officials planned to
have grief counselors available this weekend to help deal with any
trauma.

A student was arrested this week for allegedly threatening “to finish
the job” begun by two student gunmen at Columbine.

In addition, CBS-TV was criticized by some in the community for
broadcasting a snippet of the security camera videotape that was taken
in the school cafeteria as the massacre unfolded.

Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, scattered gunfire and bombs at
the school near Englewood, killing 12 students and a teacher and
wounding about 26 others. Then they committed suicide.

Miss Hochhalter suffered injuries to her spinal cord, back and chest
when the gunmen fired at her in the parking lot. She moved her legs
for the first time last week.

Now a senior, she is taking a physics class at Columbine while a tutor
teaches the rest of her courses at home.

AP-NY-10-22-99 1947EDT
___________________________

Mom of CHS victim kills herself

By David Olinger
Denver Post Staff Writer

Oct. 22, 5:15 p.m. – Carla Hochhalter, the mother of a girl paralyzed
by the Columbine High shootings, walked into an Englewood pawn shop
Friday, asked to look at a revolver, loaded it and fatally shot
herself.

She died at Swedish Medical Center, minutes after paramedics carried
her into its emergency room.

Hochhalter, 48, killed herself at a time when her family seemed to be
battling back from a tragedy that had left her daughter Anne Marie
partially paralyzed by a bullet lodged in her back.

Anne Marie, a 17-year-old Columbine High senior, told friends a week
ago that she had managed to move her legs for the first time since
April 20. She and her parents had moved into a home renovated by
volunteers to accommodate her wheelchair. Dozens of students and
teachers at Leawood Elementary, where she once went to school, took
part in a Courage Walk last week to benefit the Hochhalters. Anne
Marie had thanked them all, adding bravely, “I think we’ll all
recover.”

Seven days later her mother walked into the Alpha Pawn Shop on South
Broadway and calmly asked to look at some handguns. A clerk showed her
three. She said she wanted to buy one, a .38 special revolver, and
asked to examine it.

While the clerk turned his attention to the paperwork associated with a
gun purchase, Carla Hochhalter surreptitiously loaded the revolver
with ammunition she had brought into the shop. She fired one bullet
into a store wall. She fired the next into her right temple.

At least half a dozen pawn shop employees and customers witnessed the
shooting.

“I’m stunned,” said Richard Castaldo, another of the students partially
paralyzed by the Columbine High gunmen. “My heart goes out to that
family. To go through what they this summer, and then this.”
Castaldo’s mother, Connie Michalik, said Carla Hochhalter suffered
terribly during the six months she watched her daughter fighting to
survive, then coping with life in a wheelchair.

“When this whole thing started, she was a different person. I saw her
slide downhill,” Michalik said. “You could see it was too much for
her. At the beginning, she was upset but a normal distraught person,
like we all were. But you’d look in her eyes and see she was … lost.
It didn’t seem like she was there any more. She was sweet and loving
and kind, but it was too much for her.”

Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone, whose department investigated the
Columbine High massacre, has watched deputies call it quits in the last
six months as the enduring stresses of this tragedy took their toll.
He expressed sympathy for the Hochhalters, saying, “I’d ask people to
pray for the family to help them get through this difficult part.”

Copyright 1999 The Denver Post.
____________________________

Columbine victim’s mother kills self in pawn shop

By Karen Abbott
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

Carla Hochhalter, whose 17-year-old daughter was gravely wounded in the
Columbine High School shootings six months ago, took her own life
Friday.

Englewood police said Mrs. Hochhalter, 48, shot herself once in the
head at about 10 a.m. inside a South Broadway pawn shop where she had
just told a clerk she wanted to buy a gun.

“She was such a loving mother,” Connie Michalik, mother of wounded
Columbine student Rich Castaldo, said Friday.

The Hochhalter family, whose daughter, Anne Marie, suffered spinal cord
injuries and has been attending Columbine in a wheelchair this fall,
declined to comment.

Michalik said she and Mrs. Hochhalter spent many hours together at the
hospital in the weeks after their children were shot. Teenage gunmen
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire at the school, killing 12
students and a teacher and injuring more than 20 other people before
killing themselves.

“She was very sweet and loving and kind,” Michalik said. “This whole
thing just devastated her. This just destroyed her. It destroyed her.

“In my mind, I almost feel like Eric and Dylan killed her too.”

Police spokeswoman Letitia Castillo said the clerk at Alpha Pawn, 4155
S. Broadway in Englewood, handed Mrs. Hochhalter a .38 caliber handgun
at her request. While the clerk was doing the required background
check for the purchase, Castillo said, Mrs. Hochhalter apparently
loaded the gun with bullets she had brought with her.

Castillo said Mrs. Hochhalter fired one bullet into a wall of the store
before turning the gun on herself. No one else was injured.

Arapahoe County Coroner Dr. Michael Dobersen confirmed after an autopsy
Friday that Mrs. Hochhalter died of a gunshot wound to the head. The
death was classified as a suicide, he said.

Mrs. Hochhalter was pronounced dead at about 10:50 a.m. at Swedish
Medical Center, where Anne Marie underwent radical surgery and stayed
for weeks after she was shot twice as she ate lunch outside Columbine.

A Swedish spokeswoman said the hospital staff would not comment Friday.

Michalik said she had been concerned about Mrs. Hochhalter but never
imagined the depth of her depression.

“She was devastated, just like the rest of us,” Michalik said. “When it
first happened, she was just like any other parent.

October 22, 1999

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