Volunteer police kill man who threatened suicide

Police say the 18-year-old shot at, lightly wounded volunteer before officers returned fire and killed him.

Police generic in english crime scene 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)
Police generic in english crime scene 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)
A love affair ended in tragedy on Friday morning, when volunteer police shot and killed an 18-year-old who hours earlier posted an online warning that he and his pregnant 17-year-old girlfriend planned a double suicide.
Raz Attias of Petah Tikva had posted a note on Channel 2’s website saying that he and his girlfriend planned to kill themselves for “personal reasons.” He then drove off with his girlfriend in the direction of Beit Shemesh, armed with a handgun.
Volunteer police officers located the car, which belongs to Attias’s parents, in the forest near Beit Shemesh around 1 in the morning.
When the officers approached the car, Attias pulled out a gun, pointed it at his girlfriend’s head, and said he would shoot her, according to police spokesman Shmuel Ben- Ruby.
Attias then opened fire on the volunteer officers, lightly wounding one in the head.
The other volunteers returned fire, killing Attias in a hail of bullets. The pregnant girl, who had stepped out of the car moments earlier, was unharmed.
Paramedics evacuated the wounded officer to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem, and the girlfriend was taken for treatment for shock at a Jerusalem hospital shortly thereafter.
Ben-Ruby said the couple had planned the double-suicide days in advance and had even notified their friends. Attias stole the gun from the home of a friend whose father is a career officer in the army.
Attias wrote on Channel 2’s website, “This evening, 18.10.12, a young couple will commit suicide in one of the forests during the journey.
The final location will be sent from a Facebook account that is not mine. Good luck in your search, I hope you find us. We left a letter on the computer work desk in my house and I would be happy if you could let my family know. Thank you. This number [used as an identifier to post the message] is not correct, please don’t try to stop this.”
Police have opened an investigation into the shooting and the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department is set to examine if volunteer officers followed procedure in the shooting.
The couple began dating in high school, and a few weeks ago the girl found out she was pregnant.
The initial police investigation has explored a number of scenarios, including that Attias and his family had tried to convince the girl to get an abortion, and also that Attias had pressured or forced the girl to get in the car and take part in the suicide pact.
In a corridor at the hospital where the girl was being treated for shock on Saturday, the pregnant teen’s mother said she planned to have an abortion, and to move on with her life, which was very close to being cut short a little over 24 hours earlier.
“She will get medical treatment and she will carry on. Of course she won’t continue the pregnancy. There is no doubt about this; she is 17 years old. And with this, we will cut off our connection with the Attias family.”
The mother told reporters that she never knew her daughter was pregnant.
“It’s a big shame that I did not know this, that they didn’t tell me, that they didn’t call me. I didn’t believe that this was so desperate. Their desire to get rid of the emotional pressure was very powerful,” she said.
The mother added that if she had known, she would have reached out to the couple and tried to help them.
She claimed that Attias’s family knew about the pregnancy and did not inform her.