WALKER A last-moment rescue by a trooper who acted out of instinct saved the life of a Wood County man who was attempting suicide by hanging Tuesday evening.
The suicide attempt came after a domestic situation, wherein the subject had attacked multiple members of his family and then retreated to a back room with a knife, reports said. The subject's name is being withheld until he can receive proper mental health treatment, officials said.
A 911 call about a domestic disturbance around 11 p.m. Tuesday summoned Cpl. C.J. Weekley of the West Virginia State Police Wood County Detachment from where he was working on another case at his headquarters.
Photo by Grethcen Richards
Cpl. C.J. Weekley of the West Virginia State Police prevented the attempted suicide of a Wood County man Tuesday evening.
Weekley said he could hear screaming as he approached the Oak Grove Road home. He opened the door to let himself in, and was greeted by two women running from the back bedroom of the home in a panic, Weekley said.
"One of the women started pushing me to the back of the house, saying her son needed help," Weekley said.
The women were unable to clearly communicate that the man had hanged himself until Weekley was being pushed through the bedroom door, he said.
The subject was found hanging from the wooden hanger rod in the bedroom closet, Weekley said. He had taken a "two-inch-wide military style belt with D rings" and tied one end around the hanger rod, with the other looped around his neck, Weekley said.
The subject was described as experiencing symptoms of being "within seconds of death" when Weekley pulled out his secondary weapon a four-inch knife and cut the belt between the subject and the hanging rod, Weekley said.
When the subject was resting on the floor, the emergency situation was not over. The belt failed to loosen from the subject's neck when tension was released, Weekley said.
Weekley dug his fingers under the belt and worked with it until it came loose, he said. The subject regained consciousness about 10 seconds later, Weekley said.
The subject was taken into temporary custody to prevent him from attempting further harm to himself while the family was interviewed about the situation, Weekley said.
The family members injured in the domestic situation consisted of the subject's mother, girlfriend and brother, Weekley said. Each member of the family had visible injuries, including black eyes and marks on their heads, Weekley said.
It is fortunate that the family checked on the subject when they did, Weekley said. The family chose to check on the subject even after he had injured them and found him hanging.
The series of events was described as everyone being in the right place at the right time, Weekley said.
"I could have gone to the scene and started talking to them and only found him after looking for him later, and it could have been too late," Weekley said.
Sgt. J.E. Stout with the West Virginia State Police Wood County Detachment almost overlooked the report of Weekley's heroics, he said. Weekley brought no attention to his actions, instead submitting the reports as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred, Stout said.
"He never would have mentioned it, because that's just the type of person he is," Stout said.
Upon seeing the report, Stout realized that Weekley had been the hero of the situation.
"You have to accept that things happen to all of us for a reason," Stout said. "You're put in strategic locations by a greater power. You're put there. You're trained. You just respond. Sometimes you don't even realize you are thinking about doing it," Stout said.
Weekley insists that he simply happened into the situation at the right time and acted out of instinct to save the man's life.
"If it wasn't me, it would have been someone else there," Weekley said. "I just happened to be the guy who walked in."
The subject was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center and later released, Weekley said. The subject was served with a mental health petition, wherein he claimed he was attempting to get a rush rather than commit suicide, Weekley said.
The subject was released into the custody of mental health services for evaluation, Weekley said. Charges are pending, but will not be official until the subject has been released from the mental hygiene petition, Weekley said.