Robert Fuller’s Hanging Was a Suicide, Investigation Finds


An investigation has confirmed that Robert Fuller, who was found hanging from a tree in a Southern California park on June 10, committed suicide, officials announced on Thursday.

The authorities ordered a further investigation into Mr. Fuller’s death following a public outcry after the initial ruling that it was a suicide. His hanging and that of another Black man in California, on May 31, drew scrutiny amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. The other hanging has also been ruled a suicide.

At a news conference on Thursday, Chris Marks, the department commander of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said that a further investigation and a more-detailed autopsy revealed that Mr. Fuller, 24, had a history of mental health issues and committed suicide.

Records indicated that Mr. Fuller had suffered from mental illness and had previously expressed suicidal thoughts, Commander Marks said.

The authorities also said there was a May 14 purchase on Mr. Fuller’s debit card of a red rope consistent with the one used in the hanging.

There were no signs of a struggle or trauma visible on Mr. Fuller’s body, which was found hanging in a city park in Palmdale, north of Los Angeles, but there were several scars on his left wrist, Commander Marks said.

Credit…Robert Fuller Family via Najee Ali

No witnesses were seen in the area, he added.

Mr. Fuller’s family cooperated with the investigation, the authorities said. Local authorities originally ruled his death a suicide in June, but were met with backlash from Mr. Fuller’s family and activists who wanted them to further investigate the death, including the possibility that the hanging was a hate crime.

Jamon R. Hicks, a lawyer for Mr. Fuller’s family, said he planned to respond Friday to the sheriff’s department’s finding.

Mr. Fuller’s death was the second of two hangings in Southern California that drew national attention amid the nationwide protests incited by the death of George Floyd. Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree on May 31. After initially advocating a deeper investigation, Mr. Harsch’s family announced that they believed his hanging death was a suicide.

Azi Paybarah contributed reporting.



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