Mountain View Voice

News - December 10, 2010

SWAT team robot finds victim

Man discovered in garage with gun is apparent suicide

by Nick Veronin

A Mountain View man apparently shot and killed himself after police surrounded his home in the 2600 block of Diericx Drive on Saturday, Dec. 4, a police spokeswoman said.

A SWAT team (special weapons and tactics) and crisis negotiators flooded the area around the man's house Saturday morning, in response to a call from a woman who said that her husband had a loaded gun and was threatening to kill himself, said Liz Wylie, public information officer for the Mountain View Police Department.

The incident, which was initially reported at 11:15 a.m., ended in the apparent suicide of 61-year-old Jim Wadkins, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner's office.

The man's wife, 51, and her 21-year-old son called police as they were leaving the house Saturday morning, saying that the man was despondent, acting erratically and that they had seen him loading a revolver, Wylie said. Police determined that the man had multiple firearms registered in his name and used extreme caution in attempting to contact him.

Police never made contact with him, however, although they tried to reach him by calling both his house phone and cell phone, according to Wylie. She said it was possible the man was dead before the first units arrived on the scene.

A special robot, outfitted with a camera, was sent into the home to look for the man, Wylie said. The video-equipped robot came upon the body of the man in the garage — dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Police believe that this was a suicide, but an investigation is being conducted, Wylie said.

Wylie said that the situation the man's wife and her son faced was a difficult one, but that they had done the right thing.

"If somebody is threatening to kill themselves and loading a gun, the best thing to do is leave the house and call us," she said.

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