Sergeant credited with talking man out of committing suicide by cop


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Sgt. Jeff Young | Idaho State Journal file photo

POCATELLO — A Bannock County Sheriff’s Office sergeant is being credited with defusing a potential suicide by cop incident.

Sgt. Jeff Young talked a McCammon man into surrendering after the man had engaged law enforcement officers in a standoff on Tuesday evening at a Pocatello residence.

The Sheriff’s Office said David Lee Patton, 46, was wanted for allegedly violating a no contact order Tuesday morning at his wife’s residence in McCammon, and the situation became more urgent when a tip was received that Patton wanted to commit suicide by cop.

The Sheriff’s Office tracked down Patton by pinging his cell phone to a residence in the 1300 block of North Harrison Avenue in Pocatello that he was remodeling.

When sheriff’s deputies and Pocatello police showed up at the residence around 7 p.m. Tuesday, Patton refused to surrender and barricaded himself in the home, located on the section of North Harrison between West Day and West Carson streets near the rail yard.

There was no one else in the residence besides Patton, but the fact he had multiple firearms with him added tension to the situation.

Young had dealt with Patton on a previous incident and Patton requested to speak with Young via phone after barricading himself inside the residence and spotting the sergeant at the scene.

Young said he and Patton talked on the phone for over an hour, with Patton telling him that he singled him out because he trusted the sergeant based on the previous incident.

Young, who has no formal training in crisis negotiations, said he relied on his 25 years of experience with the Sheriff’s Office to persuade Patton to surrender.

“I just listened and let him do a lot of the talking,” Young said.

The sergeant said Patton talked to him about committing suicide by cop but they also talked about Patton’s family.

Young said he’s not sure what the turning point was in the conversation but around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday Patton agreed to surrender and was taken into custody without incident.

“He’s alive. That’s all that matters,” Young said.

Authorities said no one was injured during the standoff and no shots were fired — largely because of Young’s efforts.

Police did not evacuate anyone from the residential neighborhood where the standoff occurred but they did tell the public to stay away from the scene until Patton was taken into custody.

The Pocatello police SWAT team was deployed to the scene and some U.S. Marshals who were in the area investigating another matter also responded.

After Patton surrendered, he was transported by sheriff’s deputies to Portneuf Medical Center for a mental health evaluation and then booked into Bannock County Jail.

If convicted of violating the no contact order, Patton faces a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

This story originally appeared in the Idaho State Journal. It is posted here with permission.