Suicide negotiator uses Facebook to help a man in crisis | News
Odessa, Florida - When it comes to suicide negotiators, a YouTube video featuring the Las Vegas Police Department shows what we expect: Officers shouting to or using a phone to contact someone in crisis. "You've got a lot to offer everyone man," says one negotiator in the video.
But Wednesday, when David Lehrke barricaded himself inside a shed behind his Odessa home and talked about "suicide by cop", veteran Pasco County Sheriff's negotiator Cpl. Arthur Morrison let his fingers do the talking.
Morrison is a school resource officer and sitting in a squad car not far from the scene, he used his new school Facebook page to contact Lehrke and hold a chat. Morrison's first message-simply, "hey are you ok?"
"He did not want to talk on the phone. He didn't want to talk any other way and this was our lifeline to him," says Morrison of Facebook. "This was our only way of communicating."
The negotiator also used information gleaned from Lehrke's Facebook page (like Lehrke's obvious love of fishing) to help him establish a rapport. "Bringing him around to things he cares about and thinks about, reminds him about why he's alive; reminds him about what he has to live for," says Morrison, who has been on some 150 crisis calls.
After about a half hour, Lehrke stopped responding to Morrison, but about ten minutes later he walked out of the shed and was placed under medical supervision.
Relatives of Lehrke at the family's Odessa home did not want to comment on camera, but his daughter told 10 News that they are grateful that the negotiator using Facebook was able to get him out alive and they hope their loved one can now receive the medical attention he needs.
Lehrke's Facebook page also refers to his love of water sports. It reads, "water is what keep us a live and I'm going to live!"
And at the end of the day, that's all this crisis negotiator can ask for.
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