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Medford Police Engage in Standoffs

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MEDFORD, Ore., – Medford Police say a pair of separate suicidal standoffs Wednesday are part of a dangerous growing trend. They say officers are responding to an increasing number of suicidal threats or threats to others.

Just before 2 a.m. Wednesday, police responded to the 300 block of Benson Street in Medford, where they found 29-year-old Danny Burlington pacing back and forth in the street, carrying what looked like a gun, and threatening to shoot himself.

Officers and SWAT teams negotiated with Burlington for more than two hours before the man surrendered peacefully. He was briefly lodged in the Jackson County Jail and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Police say that wasn’t the first time Burlington had tried to publicly kill himself. Burlington shot himself in the shoulder during a similar standoff on July 10. Neighbors had also known about his mental health problems, and feared a stray bullet from a suicide attempt would hit someone else. Police say they respond to these types of suicidal threats to make sure no one else gets hurt.

Later Monday, police had another report of a suicide threat, this time from a second man claiming he was going to shoot himself and someone else. Police and SWAT teams responded to a home on Summit Ave. around 12:45 p.m., and were eventually able to get the man to come out without incident. Police say there was no weapon, and no one was hurt. The man, whose name is not being released, was not charged with a crime, and was taken to a hospital.

Medford Police officers say these two standoffs are part of a growing problem. They say their number of calls for suicidal threats are up 10 percent since 2011. And the number of calls for mental holds – in which someone poses a threat to themselves or someone else – has increased 19 percent. Police attribute these increases to the backlog in the Jackson County Mental Health department. Officers say it’s becoming clear people suffering from mental health problems are not getting the help they need.

It has to do with the mental health services that are currently being provided here in Jackson County. I know that they are taxed, I know that they are an over-burdened system, but it appears not everyone’s needs are adequately being met,” said Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.

Calls to Jackson County Mental Health were not returned Wednesday.

3 comments

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  1. Ryan Navickas says:

    I’m glad the incidents were resolved peacefully. Why did last year’s knife related suicide threat end in a police shooting and killing that youngster? It is good that Medford Police are acknowledging a lack of mental health services as the cause of such incidents. They should also recognize that poverty, unemployment, and underfunded education may also play a role.

    1. NickName541 says:

      “Why did last year’s knife related suicide threat end in a police shooting and killing that youngster?”

      It happened becuase that “youngster” charged at Police officers with that knife (it was a kitchen knife as well)

      I’m sure if either of these men came at police with their weapon(s), they would have been shot as well.

      Police aren’t going around shooting people, they only take action when someone forces them too. I am thankful that these law enforcement men and women take that risk in order to protect the rest of us from these threats.

  2. wendy says:

    Our mental health system has been trashed and it started over 20 years ago, funding was removed and removed and removed, No one wants to waste money on those with mental illnesses, It still carries such a sad stigma, I know too well from my family members. MENTAL ILLNESS IS NO DIFFERENT THAN HAVING DIABETES, IT JUST OCCURS IN THE BRAIN !!!!!!!!!!!! we need more help for mentally ill folks, Most live homeless, and I am assuming the man that was shot dead by a civilian was paranoid and hearing voices and just looking for a safe place, but mentally ill, so he gets shot dead because he is mentally ill Do we shoot our cancer patients ?????? maybe he was on drugs, I dont’ know but it sounds like he was paranoid, and most likely mentally ill, don’t know .

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