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Man Commits Suicide at Mitchell Park

Gunshot went off as kids were playing nearby.

An elderly man committed suicide with a handgun Thursday morning at , police said.

Dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call from Mitchell Park at 600 East Meadow Drive with a report that someone had shot himself, police said.

Palo Alto Police officers arrived soon thereafter and found an elderly man with a single gunshot wound, police said. They found a handgun nearby.

Julian Heller was skateboarding with his friends at the Park as the police cleaned up the crime. Heller's account of what he witnessed was too graphic to recount here, but what he saw confirms what was reported to police.

A municipal worker also described the victim as an elderly gentleman.

Approximately two hours later, although multiple police officers still stood near the taped-off the scene of the crime at noon, eyewitnesses had cleared the area and no bystanders remained.

About 400 feet away, the park was populated by a sunny day’s typical visitors, from a group calmly practicing tai-chi to men playing hockey. Employees walked by to a picnic for the company Space Systems/Loral. Most showed no sign of knowing that a crime had occurred.

“It’s a pretty weird place to commit suicide,” Heller said.

Palo Alto Fire personnel pronounced the man dead on the scene. Nobody else was injured in the incident, police said.

The shooting occurred at the same time and place as multiple children summer camps, with one, J-Camp, occurring close to the scene of the crime. Although gun shots were heard at the further away Camp Imagine, hosted by the city of Palo Alto, everything continued as planned, although the camp-goers were kept inside the building, according to a camp counselor.

Parents of the children were notified by camp organizers, and counselors are being provided as needed, police said. Police are working with the organization to ensure that kids receive any counseling that may be necessary.

Palo Alto police are not disclosing any additional details out of respect for the victim and his family. The identity of the victim will also not be released, as is standard practice in suicide cases, police said.

Johnathan H. June 28, 2012 at 08:45 PM
i surely hope it's not the elderly homeless man that I've seen on several occasions in the park. i spoken to him before...very sad day indeed.
Jennifer van der Kleut June 28, 2012 at 08:45 PM
How horrible!
Toby S. June 30, 2012 at 03:37 PM
It was my coworker who saw him shoot himself...he told me he WAS an elderly homeless man. What do you know about him, if you don't mind me asking.
randy albin July 03, 2012 at 05:31 PM
these things happen. where is there psychiatric counseling or social intervention in these kinds of cases?

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