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Author Topic: Justice Coalition Founder's Death Ruled Suicide  (Read 1406 times)
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« on: January 09, 2009, 04:12:56 PM »

Justice Coalition Founder's Death Ruled Suicide
updated 39 minutes ago

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Last month's death of the man who became the public face for crime victims in Jacksonville has been ruled a suicide.

Ted Hires, who founded the Justice Coalition in 1995 after several robberies of his Sonny's barbecue restaurants, was found dead in his workshop of a gunshot wound on Dec. 17.

The medical examiner's report said Hires died of a gunshot wound to the chest and concluded the manner of death to be suicide. The autopsy found no evidence of alcohol or drugs in his system.

Police said gun-cleaning supplies were found near Hires' body, so investigators thought his death might have been accidental.

Immediately after his death and at a memorial service later that week, city leaders called Hires a "true hero."

"I'm losing a friend and we're losing a champion on crime fighting," Mayor John Peyton said.

The executive director of the Justice Coalition, Ann Dugger, said Hires had helped hundreds if not thousands of families whose lives were impacted by violent crime.

"Today, my staff and my board and all of our volunteers and myself were completely numb. To get this information, it's all over again," Dugger said.

After learning of the medical examiner's report, Hires' widow, Wanda Hires, released this statement:

"My faith tells me that my best friend and husband Ted is finally at peace... resting with God. The years of his giving so much... to so many... will never be lost or forgotten and will hopefully be treasured by those he cared so passionately for."

Family members said Hires' father and brother also committed suicide.

Psychologist Dr. Stephen Bloomfield told Channel 4 that a family history of suicide is not rare.

"It's not an inherited thing. It's not a genetic thing. If someone has a family member who committed suicide, they should probably take it into account if they start getting depressed, but it's not going to cause their suicide. But, there is a correlation between it, sure. We do know that," said psychologist Dr. Stephen Bloomfield.

Still, those who knew Hires best said how he died is not as important as what he did for the community.

"It's not really about his death, it's about his life and the legacy that he's left. Jacksonville's lost one of their best friends," Dugger said.

Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware/Of giving your heart to a dog to tear  -- Rudyard Kipling

One who doesn't trust is never deceived...

'I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind' -Edgar Allen Poe
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