Florida Keys

Key West officer saves man from ‘suicide by cop’

Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg honors Officer Bryan Tyler with the department’s Life Saving Award on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.
Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg honors Officer Bryan Tyler with the department’s Life Saving Award on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. City of Key West

A Key West police officer who stopped a man from committing suicide on Christmas Eve has received one of the city’s top awards.

During a ceremony Friday at the Grand Key Resort, Police Chief Sean Brandenburg handed Officer Bryan Tyler the department’s Life Saving Award.

While on patrol Dec. 24, Tyler spotted a motorcycle riding on the sidewalk at 3428 N. Roosevelt Blvd. He stopped and had a brief conversation with the man on the bike. Police blotted out the name of the man in the incident report.

The man, 41, who was listed as a non-resident in the police report, told Tyler he was going through hard times, had a gun and was going to shoot himself, the report states.

“Officer Tyler quickly ascertained that the subject intended to kill himself with a gun he had in his jacket,” said police spokeswoman Alyson Crean.

The motorcyclist began to pull a gun from his pocket, but Tyler was able to take the weapon away from him and take the man into protective custody. That’s standard procedure for anyone who tries to commit suicide, Crean said.

The handgun was a Springfield Armory .45-caliber.

An investigation showed the man, 41, had referred to ending his life by “suicide by cop,” which is when someone attempts to force an officer into shooting him by pulling a gun.

”Due to Officer Tyler’s demeanor, the subject decided against it,” Brandenburg said.

“Officer Tyler’s watchful eye and professional compassion saved the life of a stranger during his darkest hour. Not only that, but Officer Tyler’s skill and professionalism averted a serious threat not only to himself, but to his fellow officers who responded as backup.”

Tyler, 35, has been with the department since April 2018.

Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.
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