published Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Corrections officer arrested over 'suicide by cop' threats

A veteran Georgia Department of Corrections officer was hospitalized and now faces charges after he threatened to commit “suicide by cop,” authorities said.

Brian Luzier, a 20-year corrections officer at Hays State Prison in Trion, Ga., had to be tackled to the ground by Ringgold police Sunday night after he made suicide threats to a crisis center, police said.

He now is in a medical facility in Rome, Ga., for a mental evaluation, Ringgold Police Department Chief Dan Bilbrey said. Luzier faces charges of obstruction when he is released, Bilbrey said.

Luzier has been on family leave for the past two months for an undisclosed illness, said Peggy Chapman, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

Police went to Luzier’s house off High Street after a Parkridge Valley Crisis Center worker called 911 to report that Luzier was threatening suicide and had told the worker he was “surrounded by knives,” a police incident report shows.

Luzier also told the worker that “he was armed and he was going to come out and make the police kill him,” the report stated.

When four officers and back-up from the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office surrounded Luzier’s home, an officer noted the man was walking through the house, turning his lights on and off, the report showed.

As police tried to move closer to talk with Luzier, he walked out the back door and refused to stop, the report showed. Luzier was wearing a Department of Corrections shirt, carrying a tactical bag in one hand and another object in his other hand, the report stated.

Once in the street, an officer pointed his Taser at Luzier and ordered him to get on the ground, but Luzier wouldn’t listen, according to the report.

When the lead officer realized the object in Luzier’s other hand was a cell phone, he tackled the man to the ground. The men wrestled until the officer struck Luzier with his elbow and was able to handcuff him, the report stated.

After Luzier was taken to the hospital to be treated for a cut on his mouth, he was taken to the Rome facility, Bilbrey said.

“I commend the officers on the scene,” Bilbrey said. “That’s a very tense situation to be in. Those [officers] showed some very good judgment.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Corrections will wait until the outcome of the charges to make a decision about Luzier’s employment, Chapman said.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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