Staff Report

A 78-year-old man died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound right in front of the Delta County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday morning. Several people at the agency heard the gunshot, including Sheriff Mark Taylor.

Taylor said it appeared as though the man had been inquiring about weed abatement at the county courthouse next door and was directed to the DCSO.

“He came in the front door and wanted to speak with a deputy. They were tied up. He turned around, walked out the door, and right outside my window, I heard a loud bang. I looked up and he was lying in the street,” Taylor said.

Taylor and others raced outside.

“It was pretty clear what happened,” he said.

The Delta Police Department is investigating, because the sheriff’s building is in the city limits. The DPD was working the scene Wednesday afternoon and did not immediately have further information.

The official cause and manner of death are pending autopsy. The Delta County Independent is reporting the death because it took place in public.

Taylor said the man had given no clear indication that he was particularly upset when he stopped by the front desk. “It sounded like he was concerned, or wanted something done. I’m sure something in his life other than weeds was taking place,” the sheriff said.

“I certainly feel for his family. There must have been something going on more than what we know of at this point,” Taylor said.

“It’s a traumatic event. Unfortunately in this line of business, it’s not unusual to see those kinds of things.”

People experiencing suicidal thoughts or other mental health crises can call the Center for Mental Health 24-hour crisis line at 970-252-6220. The state crisis line is 1-844-492-TALK (8255).

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