In Palmdale, Los Angeles, a young man believed to be in his 20s was found dead hanging by his neck on a tree on Wednesday dawn, but early news reports are calling it a suicide.
The Antelope Valley Times, which quoted a city official statement, reported that this is not the first time such an incident has been reported during the coronavirus-forced restriction to life in California.
“Many people are suffering extreme mental anguish and the city wants everyone to know that help is available,” said City Manager, JJ Murphy. “There are local resources such as Mental Health America of Los Angeles, AV Vet Center, and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health,” the statement said.
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The young man’s name and ethnicity were not reported by the Times. However, a conversation has been ongoing on Twitter over the last 24 hours between individuals who have placed the death within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.
They have also identified the deceased as Robert Fuller.
One tweeter @KingCuh tweeted on Thursday: “THERE WAS A BLACK MALE FOUND HANGING FROM A TREE IN PALMDALE THIS MORNING AND AINT NOBODY SAYING SHIT.”
That tweet has now been retweeted nearly 20,000 times. Most of the replies to @KingCuh wondered how the case has not made national news or gone viral on social media.
A GoFundMe page, “Community Support for Robert Fuller” has been started.
But the position of The Times seems to be based on a statement by Lt. Brandon Dean of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau. Lt. Dean is reported to have said early indications are that the deceased died by their own doing.
However, officials expect to notify a next of kin and hope that an autopsy report will provide better details.
Meanwhile, Palmdale City officials offer “sincere condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of the individual who tragically passed away in Palmdale… Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”