Suffolk police confirm man found hanging in a West Hills park died by suicide
The Suffolk County Police Department held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to reassure the public that a man found hanging in a West Hills park died by suicide.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said that the unusual briefing was called to quell rumors that the man was murdered.
“I want to assure you a thorough investigation is being conducted. However, we are confident in the preliminary findings that this death was indeed a suicide,” Commissioner Hart said.
Police say the man's family reported him missing at 7:04 a.m. Monday when they found a suicide note, his cellphone and the man's ID. About 17 minutes later, a jogger called 911, saying that a man was hanging from a tree in Peter A. Nelson Park.
Commissioner Hart says the man had a note in his pocket “identifying himself and providing his address and his wife's name and phone number.”
She also said that the man utilized a 55-gallon drum to reach the branch that he hung himself from.
Commissioner Hart also said the man's family requested their privacy but issued a statement.
“First, they are aware of the rumors and concerns that are swirling around the community. Next, they are confident that this case involves a suicide, due to the facts of the case, as well as issues that are personal to them and their deceased family member.”
Commissioner Hart said a witness saw the man riding his bicycle to the park, and that there were no signs of a struggle or other indications of foul play. Once toxicology tests come back, the Medical Examiner will issue the final report.
Hart was joined by Pastor Larry Jennings, of Bethel AME Church, who said people don’t have to be distressed.
“It's a very tense time, in general, for people of African American descent,” he said. “We're just trying to set them at ease, to let them know that don't have to be alarmed.”