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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Kaua'i man hoped for 'suicide by cop,' court document says

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser KauaÎi Bureau

LIHU'E, Kaua'i — Gerard Silva went to police headquarters Thursday with a loaded rifle in hopes that a police officer would shoot him, he told police.

"I no like kill myself. I was hoping somebody else would do it," he said in a statement contained in court records.

Silva and his former wife both described him as chronically depressed over his constant pain and deteriorating medical condition.

A judge in Lihu'e District Court yesterday ordered Silva to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before criminal charges can proceed.

Although his attorneys asked for a mental examination, Silva told police investigators: "I not mental."

On the day he hoped he would die, Silva appeared at police headquarters in Lihu'e carrying a rifle wrapped in a sheet. He warned bystanders that they should get out of the way and that he intended to shoot the first police officer he saw.

Silva pointed the loaded .22 rifle at Sgt. Scott Yagihara, who ducked into an office to alert other officers about the armed intruder. Officer Randy Chong Tim stepped out with his service revolver drawn and confronted Silva.

Police reports indicated that Chong Tim saw civilians in his line of fire and decided to try to disarm Silva instead of firing. He knocked the barrel aside and wrestled Silva to the ground while aware that Silva's finger was on the trigger. The rifle fired as they fell, and the bullet hit a concrete wall. No one was injured.

Silva was arrested at the scene. He is charged with one count of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of terroristic threatening, a firearms count and a weapons charge associated with an illegal switchblade he had in his pocket. Bail has been set at $250,000 and he remains in custody. Silva is represented by Deputy Public Defender John Calma.

Silva, 45, of Kalaheo, told investigators he takes an extensive assortment of strong medications for depression, arthritic pain, circulatory problems, recurrent stomach ulcers and other ailments.

He told authorities he sometimes mixed his drugs for greater effect. He said he used the antidepressant Zoloft, the painkiller Vioxx, and methadone, morphine and marijuana.

Among his belongings, police found a medical marijuana card issued by the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the state Department of Public Safety. But Silva said marijuana did little to ease his pain.

He expressed deep frustration about his medical condition, which has rendered him nearly incapable of walking. He said that his mother had a similar condition, but that his own physical ailments were progressing faster than hers.

In his court appearance, he required assistance to stand, and walking appeared painful.

Court records indicate Silva seemed to have been settling his affairs in the days before the shooting at the police station. He had sold or given away most of the vehicles in his extensive collection of old cars. He told officers he had been thinking for a long time about forcing someone to shoot him.

He said he considered bringing a weapon to the Social Security Administration office, since he had once seen a someone carrying a weapon there, and he concluded that federal officials might shoot him if he went there. Ultimately, he selected the police department.

"He expected the officer to pull his weapon and shoot him, killing him," an investigator's report said.

Silva told authorities he was frustrated that his scheme did not work.

He also recommended his own sentence.

"Lock me up and throw away the key," he said.

He may get his wish. The charge of first-degree attempted murder carries a penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.