Evanston police say a man died when he apparently either jumped or fell from an upper floor of the Sherman Plaza garage about 11:45 this morning.

Police are still investigating the incident in the 1600 block of Benson Avenue.

Update 12:32 p.m.: Because of the investigation westbound Davis Street is closed at Sherman Avenue and Benson Avenue is closed from Church to Davis streets.

CTA bus dropoff and pickup is occurring on Church Street at Benson Avenue, rather than at the bus station along Benson.

Update 3:30 p.m.: Police now say the man who fell from the garage was a 35-year-old Evanston resident. His name isn’t being released pending notification of next of kin.

Police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says all evidence at this point indicates that he took his own life. The body was transported to the medical examiner’s office, which will make a final determination of the cause of death.

Benson Avenue and Davis Street now have been re-opened to traffic.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Jumped or fell? Could this be
    Jumped or fell? Could this be pushed or thrown? There appears to be a lot of people who are dying this way.

    1. Defenestration not that common

      O.k. does not technically apply to a parking garage but still not customary way to kill someone

  2. How Common Is This?

    You don't often hear about this sort of thing happening in Chicago — where the daily broadcast news usually focuses on shootings, fires, crashes, and assults — but it seems that we get a few of these jumpers here in Evanston every year. Please correct me if I'm mistaken. 

    1. Incident frequency

      I'm aware of two other jump-from-garage suicides in Evanston in the past two years…

      Man jumps to death from downtown garage (11/12/13) at the Sherman Plaza garage in which the victim died instantly, and

      Woman leaps from Maple Ave. garage (11/22/13) in which the victim died later in the hospital.

      After those two incidents, the City Council last year considered but rejected the idea of putting up fencing on the garages to deter suicides.

      Earlier this year an off-duty Evanston police officer managed to save a man who was threatening to jump off the Maple Avenue garage.

      I'm not aware of any evidence suggesting that Evanston is more prone to such incidents than other communities. Not too long ago Lake Forest had a rash of four incidents in which people killed themselves by stepping in front of Metra trains.

      — Bill

      1. Incident At Parking Garage

        For clarification, this is the fourth suicide( incident) at the garage since 2008.  As a resident who lives in the adjacent condo building, we have asked for some type of fencing around the top every time this happens.  In addition, we continually see kids playing on the top deck, sitting on the wall,hanging over the wall, etc.  I guess once one of these children accidently fall off the garage and the city gets hit with a huge law suit, than maybe some of our extremely short sighted alderman( Rainey and others) will decide a fence( not very expensive) may be a good idea. I guess the theory is if it does not happen in your Ward, it is not that important. Not the kind of publicity the city wants, but most importantly, lives are being lost.

        1. Fence the top deck and

          Fence the top deck and jumpers will just go one floor down. Personally, I don't want our parking garages to become completely fenced in. Fence up all the parking garages and people will start to jump in front of the Metra trains.

          1. suicides
            That’s right..if someone is intent on killing themselves, they will find a way. You can’t fence off everything. They’ll go to the lakefront, other buildings, etc……it’s impossible to be on the lookout for everyone.

          2. Suicides

            Your missing the point. The real liability is in the event a pedestrian walking below is struck. God forbid, a mother with a baby in a stroller. There have been three suicides from the top of the parking garage since July 4, 2012, and the past two occurred during mid day.

          3. This is actually not true – barriers do help

            Many suicides are impulsive and last second interventions like barriers can help. From the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:  

            Myth: Barriers on bridges, safe firearm storage and other actions to reduce access to lethal methods of suicide don’t work. People will just find another way.

            Fact: Limiting access to lethal methods of suicide is one of the best strategies for suicide prevention. Many suicides can be impulsive and triggered by an immediate crisis. Separating someone in crisis from a lethal method (e.g., a firearm) can give them something they desperately need: time. Time to change their mind, time to resolve the crisis, time for someone to intervene.


          4. suicides

            You're both missing the point…..spur of the moment things can't be diverted in a split second…..and a LOT of suicides:  their friends and family had no idea they were troubled.   

            People can climb over barriers, crash through railroad crossing gates, jump in the lake on purpose…..can't be helped…or pre-determined.  Violent people who have no access to guns, use their kitchen steak knives, or someone's medications……a lot of things are NOT preventable.

          5. Except the experts disagree and say that barriers DO save lives

            From the report linked to below on suicide barriers. 

            "If thwarted in that first, impulsive attempt, they often do not adjust and seek another way to take their lives, Harkavy-Friedman said.


            "In a suicidal crisis, it's all about time," she said. "They're going to grab whatever is available. They don't change gears if that is thwarted, because they have rigid thinking in that moment. They're not thinking about dying. They're thinking about ending the pain.

            "If they get to the bridge and there is a barrier, they're not going to shift gears. It's as simple as that."

            Read it for yourself. The humane thing is to install barriers. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/03/27/why-suicide-barriers-work-especially-at-magnets-like-the-golden-gate-bridge/

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