Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Meltdown

Photographer for 'Times-Pic' Arrested As He Begs Cops to Kill Him

By E&P Staff Published: August 09, 2006 12:25 PM ET

NEW YORK A photographer for the Times-Picayune of New Orleans who has undergone severe personal trauma since Hurricana Katrina hit was arrested Tuesday after trying to get police to shoot him to death. Police said he claimed he was depressed after he found out he didn't have enough insurance money to rebuild his Katrina-damaged home.

They said he was seeking "suicide-by-cop," but police who found him tasered him instead.

Earlier published accounts had revealed that he had recently taken a leave of absence from the paper and was undergoing therapy.

John McCusker, the photographer, was being held under psychiatric observation and faces unspecified charges.

He had been one of the paper's key photographers in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. "Katrina didn't flood New Orleans - government failure did," he told visiting students from Brown University recently.

[...]

Police said they noticed McCusker driving erratically in the city on Tuesday evening, then hit several parked cars when they pulled him over. McCusker rolled the window down and said several times, "Just kill me, get it over with, kill me." When that didn't happen, he put the car in reverse and pinned one of the officers between the rear bumper of his car and the officer's cruiser, police said, and he suffered minor injuries. McCusker drove away, to fabled St. Charles Avenue, "going out of his way to knock down any signs advertising construction," police told the newspaper. When he finally stopped, police had to taser him -- as he again begged them to kill him. The police official said, according to newspapers, that this was only one of many examples of the mental damage that Katrina has caused, "and he sees it all the time now." ...

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