MERIDIAN -- A 38-year-old man who police described as suicidal was shot and killed by four officers late Monday.

It's just the latest incident in what some see as a disturbing trend -- suicide by cop.

Now, the sister of a man who apparently committed suicide by cop several months ago says more resources are needed to help people in crisis.


Six months ago, Sherry Skinner's brother, Troy Epperley, was suicidal. He called police, and when they arrived, he approached them with a gun.

Unfortunately, he was shot, says Skinner.

Epperley died.


Monday night in Meridian, Eric Dilworth -- who Skinner knew -- was described as possibly suicidal by police. Several officers responded to Dilworth's apartment after a woman called for help late Monday night. Police say when they arrived, Dilworth approached them with an edged weapon . Dilworth was shot and killed. His family contends he was unarmed, and an investigation is ongoing.

My heart goes out to the police officers, but especially to his family, said Skinner. Because his family is dealing with the same thing I dealt with, and it's devastating.

Skinner says the incidents shed light on a growing problem. That's because police in the valley are responding to two to three suicidal subject calls -- or more -- every day.

There needs to be more awareness. It's a huge problem, Skinner says.

More officers are going through specific training with a local crisis intervention team to deal with suicidal subjects. However, Skinner makes the point that they are not counselors, and their resources are limited.


I think that they do their best, and I think those are some of the most difficult calls to respond to, said John Reusser, Executive Director of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Reusser says the hotline is a very new resource for people in crisis that can connect them to other resources. I would like to have those people know about the hotline, and to call the hotline before they get to the point where the police are involved.

For family members like Skinner, that is merely one step in the right direction to fixing a problem, suicide, that killed close to 300 Idahoans last year. We need to have people outraged. People need to call the legislators, and say, 'We want more community support for these individuals. Because, it is a silent problem.

Idaho has the 6th highest suicide rate in the nation. One of the things that frustrates people like Skinner, is that funding for suicide prevention in Idaho, ranks near the bottom in the U.S.

Those with the hotline say it is key that more people know that it is available. That number for anyone in crisis, or family members of people in crisis is 1-800-273-TALK.

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