A suspect who was arrested on warrants out of Chicago was awaiting transfer to the city’s 15th District when he took his own life at the Forest Park police station on Friday.
The death of Harrison B. Wines, 29, has been ruled a suicide by the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Wines was found hanging in a holding cell at the 517 Desplaines Ave. station shortly after 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, according to Police Chief Jim Ryan. A few hours earlier, a patrol officer who was familiar with Wines had spotted him walking along Roosevelt Road and knew the man was wanted by Chicago police. Upon taking him into custody, Wines said little and gave authorities no reason to believe that he was contemplating suicide, said Ryan.
“Our officers are trained to recognize suicidal subjects,” Ryan said. In this case, there was “completely no indication.”
Before being placed into a holding cell, officers inventoried Wines’ belt, shoelaces and other personal belongings in accordance with department protocol, according to Ryan. Wines even made a phone call to his sister, saying that he did not have the money to post bond, but that he expected to see her in two or three days.
While waiting for Chicago police to arrive and transport the suspect, Forest Park officers checked on Wines no more than 20 minutes prior to when he was discovered hanging in his cell, said Ryan. Wines tore a blanket that was in the cell and used the material to kill himself, said Ryan.
The arresting officer knew Wines from prior, minor incidents, said Ryan.
Though he gave authorities a Chicago address, Ryan said Wines has lived on the 400 block of Marengo Avenue in Forest Park.
Illinois State Police are conducting an investigation into the incident, said Ryan, and early indications from that inquiry are that Forest Park officers acted appropriately. Using a utility knife, authorities freed Wines from the torn blanket and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation while paramedics were notified.
“I would say at this point in the investigation there was no misconduct by our officers,” Ryan said. “This is a tragic incident.”
According to Ryan, the last time a suspect committed suicide at the police station was in early 2003.