Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bailey Canyon Park Suicide Victim Identified - James Cummiskey Was A Sierra Madre Canyon Resident

Bailey Canyon Park
Mod: A reporter for the new Los Angeles Register newspaper by the great name of America Hernandez has been in touch with me over the last few weeks.  She was recently assigned Sierra Madre as part of her news beat, and we'd been discussing a number of topics and issues. Late yesterday America called and told me she'd cracked the Bailey Canyon Park suicide mystery despite the not atypical news embargo placed on this story by the Sierra Madre PD. The victim is a James Charles Cummiskey, and he lived in the 700 block of Idlehour Lane in the Upper Canyon. Here is America's article (link):

Sierra Madre shooting confirmed as suicide - Families with small children picnicking at Bailey Canyon Park in Sierra Madre were interrupted Sunday afternoon by the sound of a single gunshot.

The Los Angeles County Department of Coroner reported Monday that James Charles Cummiskey, 54, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound around 12:30 p.m.

Cummiskey was found with a firearm close to his body and pronounced dead at the scene, said Lt. Fred Corrall of the coroner’s office.

Neighbors and parkgoers were disturbed by the public death.

“The guy didn’t crawl off into someplace quiet. He went and did it right in the picnic area in front of other people,” said John Crawford, who lives two houses away from the park. “The park was taped off and closed for investigation up until (Monday) morning.”

Cummiskey was an airline transport-certified pilot, the highest possible certification, according to Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration’s regional office.

The administration’s records show Cummiskey, who lived in Sierra Madre, was honored in September with inclusion in the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database.

Mod: A press release from the Sierra Madre Police Department on Sunday, along with an accompanying update on the Sierra Madre News.net site (link), described the tragedy this way:

Death Investigation at Bailey Canyon Park - The Sierra Police Department is currently assisting with an investigation into the death of a 53 yr. old male at Bailey Canyon Park.  Officers were dispatched to the area after several people reported a gunshot victim at the location.  Upon the officers arrival at the scene they found the victim in the picnic area being treated by a doctor who was in the area.

Paramedics arrived on scene and pronounced the victim dead.  A weapon was recovered at the scene and at this time it is being investigated as a suicide.  Police Chief Giannone said “this was an unfortunate tragedy for our community.  The park was filled with visitors and hikers, several who witnessed this tragic incident”.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene and took over the investigation.  The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification to next of kin. Shortly after we received the above press release, the City tweeted: “Bailey Canyon Park will remain closed the rest of the day. The area will reopen tomorrow morning. We appreciate the Community’s cooperation as the Police Department continues their investigation.”

Mod: An article about Cummiskey's FAA designation appeared in an aviation related publication called The Primary Post (link). The date of this article is Sept 18, 2013.

FAA recognizes James Charles Cummiskey ... Sierra Madre-based pilot sets positive example - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is recognizing James Charles Cummiskey with inclusion in the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database.

The database, which appears on the agency's website at www.faa.gov, names Cummiskey and other certified pilots who have met or exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA.

Pilot certification standards have evolved over time in an attempt to reduce pilot errors that lead to fatal crashes. FAA standards, which are set in consultation with the aviation industry and the public, are among the highest in the world.

Transportation safety experts strongly recommend against flying with an uncertified pilot. FAA pilot certification can be the difference between a safe flight and one that ends in tragedy.

The FAA recently announced that is it increasing the qualification requirements for co-pilots who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines. These requirements mandate additional minimum flight time and training, as well as aircraft specific training.

"Safety will be my overriding priority as Secretary, so I am especially pleased to mark my first week by announcing a rule that will help us maintain our unparalleled safety record," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release. "We owe it to the traveling public to have only the most qualified and best trained pilots."

Additional - Link here for more information uncovered by today's 2nd commenter. Also here. The "James Cummiskey Biography" has a lot of additional insight. Another found article - link - may also be related.

Mod: Hopefully now that the victim's identity is out the City will share what it knows with us.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

77 comments:

  1. I wonder if the FAA includes a psychological evaluation with its certifications.

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  2. You might want to check this website. http://www.sustainableinvestments.com/about_us

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  3. It looks like Cummiskey was a Marine officer who served in the first Iraq war.

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  4. FAA had him living at 778 Idlehour Ln - Sierra Madre, 91024

    Hopefully our local cops have visited the property and done a safety check.

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  5. Is 7:59 spam or a friend of yours?

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  6. ops never mind i opened it sorry

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  7. Let his poor soul rest in peace. What exactly do you want the SMPD to share with us?

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    1. A lot of people in Bailey Canyon Park were traumatized by what happened on Sunday. There were a lot of people in the park, some of whom actually saw what happened. I think some closure is in order.

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  8. I think this article is about him, too:

    http://www.cuencahighlife.com/post/2013/12/01/Large-numbers-of-North-American-retirees-head-to-Latin-America-and-more-are-on-the-way-experts-say.aspx

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  9. His resume is impressive and he had a lot going for him. My guess is this was either due to a problem with a woman he was involved with or he was possibly diagnosed with a terminal situation. Either way, a real shame.

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  10. I think there might be a lot more to this story than anyone first realized.

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    1. Probably a lot more than we will ever be told.

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  11. I know this man and there is an explanation. Do not sensationalize this terrible situation with ridiculous speculation. He left behind a wife and an infant child. If you do not know the facts, keep your uninformed opinions to yourself.

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    1. You need to share what you know.

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    2. My thoughts go out to the family he left behind. I am so sorry for their loss and hope that they find comfort and peace as they traverse the difficult road of grief.

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    3. You absolutely do not demand answers from someone who could be the victim's family. They owe you nothing.

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    4. I'm sorry, but my children play in that park. Some troubled individual waving a gun around and shooting himself with it while a lot of people are there should be of concern to everyone.

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    5. I understand that. I'd be concerned, but I wouldn't tell someone close to the victim that because I'm concerned, they need to give me answers. This isn't about you. Respect their privacy and ask google for answers. It's probably more forthcoming anyway.

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    6. 11:42. You're off the mark on this one.

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    7. This is where the city's unwillingness to lead hurts us all. A lot of the speculation we're seeing is because the people who are supposed to be responsible for managing situations like this choose to remain silent.

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    8. They remain silent at the behest of the family. If this situation was happening to you, I very much doubt you'd want the press in your face. You somehow think that because your children play in this park, you are entitled to the minute details of this man's passing. What more do you need to know other than he committed suicide. The details you're after hardly matter. How, exactly, does the "why" affect you?

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    9. It's Sierra Madre. You have no right to know.

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    10. From the articles I have read (including this one), the man was not threatening anyone and it was reported as a single gunshot. I’m not saying that witnessing this would not be traumatic for those on scene or who live nearby, but I would think that the existing article detailing his name, address, coroner’s report, and family he has left behind would be enough knowledge for someone who did not know him. What further details are necessary to provide you closure?

      The only people that deserve further explanation at this time are the family and close friends who have suffered this loss.

      My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.

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    11. So the tattler is now doing the city's job?

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    12. Are you suggesting that it's the city's job to provide details as to why this man decided to take his own life? I believe it's the city's job to investigate and give the family answers. The public has a right to know what happened in their community. We really don't need to know why it happened, and of course curiosity is natural, but telling someone who knows the victim that they "need to tell us what [they] know" is callous. Give your sympathies and follow the story as it progresses. Don't hassle the people close to the victim.

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    13. That is not the issue and you know it.

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    14. I'm with who commented at 12:25. There is no further details needed as to the "why" it happened. The city does not need to provide the gruesome account or in depth profile of the victim to entertain the general publics curiosity. Have some respect for his family dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy.

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    15. No one is asking for the city to function as the National Enquirer. What the city is obliged to do is issue a press release identifying the victim and the results of the PD's investigation. All very matter of fact. That is it. Based on past performance we will never see that.

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    16. All of the things you listed above have been reported on.

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    17. Yes, but not by the people we pay to do it.

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    18. It's an ongoing investigation. Their first point of contact will be the family, not the press.

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    19. Sierra Madre is famous for it's eternal investigations. It is just an excuse for not saying anything. The coroner's office has issued it's findings. The investigation is over. You must work for the city.

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    20. I live in a different state entirely. I am a friend of the victim's family and I am a witness to the tears and heartache that this situation as wrought upon this family. My original post was a well-deserved reprimand for the reprehensible demand for details a fellow commenter inflicted on the victim's family member. I'm not here to comment on your city's idea of full disclosure. I was sent the link to this post by a member of the victim's family because it contained information and they are struggling to find answers. If someone like myself, someone who is simply a friend of the family, found these comments to be so hurtful and intrusive, I encourage you to imagine what it must be like for my friend to read the speculation, the intrusive demands for information that only their family has the right to know. Maybe you can't see the pain that something like this brings on a family, but I can. And we would all appreciate it if you could please adopt some modicum of respect and allow them their privacy.

      The fact that I even need to request this is disheartening.

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    21. Which post are you referring to?

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    22. You have to admit, wandering into a crowded park on a Sunday with a loaded gun is edgy.

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    23. At least it didn't happen on Earth Day.

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    24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    25. As far as I know it's legal to carry a handgun in a crowded park on Sunday

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    26. Yes, but shooting yourself with it is a felony.

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    27. Explain how that is legal in all parks in California. It is not legal in County Parks in San Diego.

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    28. This pesky law called the 2nd Amendment...........

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    29. El fue la persona mas maravillosa que he conocido, aun no me explico como termino asi

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  12. Just got word that the LA Register is doing a follow up article. James Cummiskey Is apparently a man with quite a story.

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  13. Bless him; I respect the families time to grieve and their privacy.

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  14. The fact is once he decided to enter a public park and blow his brains out in front of witnesses he lost whatever privacy he might have been entitled to. Given the impulsive behavior (he sold everything he owned and moved to Columbia on a whim), grandiose statements (when the FAA granted him an airline transport license he made a big deal about it but as a licensed pilot I can tell you it is no big deal...basically it just requires 1,500 hours of pilot experience) it is highly likely this guy suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, which has a suicide rate of 10%.

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    1. Thank you. We all need to be thankful this person didn't take anyone with him.

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    2. Have we heard from the SMPD yet?

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  15. We live in tough and trying times!

    The city hall is spending $40,000 for health benefits per city employee!

    Every city employee wants more money and has failed to earn their request!

    The only way things will get better is, for the city residents to take away money from city hall!

    The city residents will be allowed to Vote and appeal all "Utility User Taxes" !

    This will ultimately reduce spending!

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  16. Article up on the Sierra Madre Weekly website
    Sierra Madre man commits suicide in Bailey Canyon Park Sunday
    http://www.sierramadreweekly.com/current-news/sierra-madre-man-commits-suicide-in-bailey-canyon-park-sunday/

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  17. Also the Pasadena Star News
    Suicide suspected after man found shot at crowded Sierra Madre park
    Investigators suspected suicide after a man was found fatally shot in the head, alongside a gun, at Bailey Canyon Park in Sierra Madre on Sunday. The park was occupied by more than a dozen people, including small children, when the shooting occurred.
    http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20140427/suicide-suspected-after-man-found-shot-at-crowded-sierra-madre-park

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  18. Good thing he didn't use a bomb.

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    1. Or a semi automatic weapon.

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  19. Or an atom bomb.

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    1. At least it would have put an end to the attempt to develop the monastery.

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  20. Stop!

    This guy may not evoke a lot of sympathy in us when the full story is out but his family will be negatively impacted forever, expecially any children he has.

    I know, I saw it happen to a little girl who was a childhood playmate of my son. As time when on the disturbance that the suicide of her father caused in the household was so negative on her behavior that I had to protect my son and put a stop to their play dates.

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    1. So in this case will it be the father's suicide or comments on a blog that will do the most damage?

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  21. I think that comments delivered at 8:48, 9:02, 9:19, 9:26 are probably as unusefull to this discussion as it gets, whether or not anyone cares of the impact of the suicie on the community or the family.

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    1. Sometimes topics can be too horrifying for people to deal with. Where do you fall in that equation?

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  22. Going tabloid today, Crawford?

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    1. Real life in the Sierra Madre Community.

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    2. Oh, going reality series...

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  23. I was relieved that it wasn't a murder. And I feel awful for feeling that way.

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  24. If James had committed the act behind closed doors in his home, all of the comments defending the privacy of the remaining family members would be completely justified. This wasn't the case. Given that he chose to do this in a public place in close proximity to others changes the privacy dynamics completely. The bullet he fired, depending on its caliber, could have ricocheted off his skull and injured someone nearby. People certainly have a right to know the factors that led him to endanger those around him. Whether or not they get that information is a different story.

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    1. MY AMAZING BROTHER! YOU HAVE NOR DOES ANYONE HAVE THE "RIGHT" TO KNOW THE FACTORS OF WHY!
      HE DID NOT ENDANGER ANYONE!

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    2. Curious. What makes this individual different from some other guy who might have done the same thing?

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  25. Somebody badly wants the Tattler off this story. And I don't think it is for the reasons given.

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  26. When we heard about the suicide at Bailey Canyon Park, we were hoping it was you, you worthless liar. Maybe next time.

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    1. Normally we don't let these kinds of things through, but this one is a special case.

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    2. Why, oh Why Moderator, is this a special case?

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  27. I, personally, was there that day. Although I did not SEE him do what he did, I did stand close enough to him after it was done. I came to be that way initially to see if there was anything I could do to help. I could only stand so close and there were three then four there already to assess the situation. Where I stood I could not see his face, but I saw everything else. The last few days I have tried to find out this man's name only to see if I knew him personally. At one time many years ago I lived on Grove St. Today, I find out his name and even a face put to the name. I feel today that my tears and prayers are better directed. For my personal story, I believe that God put me and my ten year old daughter there that day for a lesson to learn in these days and times.

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  28. Re: 11:53 AM--This is quite a statement. To The Mod: I believe you have a good support system in place to handle slings and arrows, but still, I wanted to post something to reverse the curse. And this should serve to alert well-meaning townsfolk about the kind of people you're dealing with. Live Long and Prosper, JC.

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  29. He'll just do it in another city...YES!!!!

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    1. I don't know where you get your information. I could live on the moon and I'd still do the Sierra Madre Tattler. How could I ever leave you?

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  30. I knew Major Cummiskey long ago, in the late 1990's. A great guy, dynamic personality, and a fine man. He co-presented with Bill Gates during Gates' comdex keynote presentation. I was just telling some folks about that presentation today, and out of curiosity, looked Jim up. I could not be more shocked. Incredibly sad.

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