Inmate appears to have taken own life, authorities say

A Tigard man is dead after authorities say he took his own life while he was lodged in the Washington County Jail.

Gary Bruce Walker, 59, was found dead in his jail cell at about 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 5, according to a release by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

WalkerA Sheriff’s deputy discovered Walker while making her regularly scheduled check of the inmates. According to Sgt. Bob Ray, a spokesman with the Sheriff’s Office, Walker was arrested by Tigard Police on Aug. 1 n charges stemming from a domestic violence call. He faced charges of strangulation, harassment and assault.

Ray said that Walker shredded a piece of cloth — either bedding or from his clothing — which he wrapped around his neck. He reportedly tied the other end around a stainless steel desk mounted to the wall and hanged himself.

“It was clearly a suicide,” Ray said.

Ray said that Walker left a suicide note behind, but declined to say what was in the note.

All inmates are given a suicide risk assessment, Ray said. Walker was not on suicide watch at the time; he was in a single occupant prison cell in the jail’s general population, Ray said.

“The Washington County Jail has an extensive suicide assessment and prevention program that begins before the arrested person is lodged in the jail and continues throughout their stay,” Ray said in a release.

Deputies in the jail perform their rounds at least every hour, Ray said, noting that “they see every person."

The deputy had completed her rounds and saw nothing out of the ordinary. When she returned less than an hour later, she found Walker unresponsive.

Deputies began CPR on Walker until medical personnel arrived and transported him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Washington County detectives are conducting an investigation into Walker’s death, which is standard procedure when an inmate dies, Ray said.

The last time an inmate at the jail committed suicide was in 2012. Mario Baurista-Garcia of El Salvador allegedly stabbed two people at a bus stop on Pacific Highway. After he was indicted on assault and weapons charges, he hanged himself with a piece of bedding in his cell. He was not on suicide watch at the time.

By Geoff Pursinger
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