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88-Year-Old Palm Coast Man Dies of Gunshot, 3rd Elderly Suicide in Seven Weeks in Flagler

| April 13, 2018

The house at 54 on Pennsylvania Lane.

The house at 54 on Pennsylvania Lane.

An 88-year-old man shot and killed himself Wednesday morning in Palm Coast’s P-Section, the third elderly in seven weeks in the county, the second by gunshot.

Joseph O’Sullivan, of 54 Pennsylvania Lane, had woken up with a acute headache that morning and had been complaining of some medical issues, according to his girlfriend’s account of the that day to a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy, though she was not aware of any serious medical issues or mental illness.

O’Sullivan made her breakfast as usual. He went into a bedroom and closed the door. His girlfriend then heard a gunshot. Authorities recovered a 9 mm handgun his girlfriend had placed in a cardboard box. No note was recovered, according to the sheriff’s report, and O’Sullivan had not made any suicidal statements beforehand.

As is the norm in such cases, numerous sheriff’s units, detectives, the crime-scene investigator and the medical examiner converged on the scene, establishing a crime scene and going through the investigative steps that ruled out foul play.

On Feb. 25, Bunnell police, responding to an out-of-county family member’s request for a “welfare check” on her father at 1008 Wadsworth Way, found Robert Piva, 79, on his living room couch, dead of a gunshot wound. (A Bunnell police report notes that a neighbor who was there at the same time as police officers was first to walk into the house through an unlocked door, and to see Piva on the couch.) It had been five days since a relative had heard from him and neighbors had seen him.

A friend who had been helping Piva told Bunnell police he suffered from leukemia, diabetes and other ailments–and that Piva seldom locked his front door, which is likely why it had been unlocked on Feb. 25. Medical examiner staff removed the body later that day. Piva had owned the house on Wadsworth Way since 2006.

The day before Piva was found at his home, Robert Barshied, 70, who lived at Matanzas Shores on A1A, was found after drowning in a Marsh off A1A, and leaving a suicide note at his home. There have been at least eight suicides in the county since the new year.

The following resources are available for individuals in crisis:

In Daytona Beach: Stewart-Marchman Act Corporation Crisis Center
1220 Willis Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Administrative Phone: (904) 947 – 4270
Crisis Line: (800) 539 – 4228
Available 24 hours.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800/273-8255.

If you are concerned for someone else, read about warning signs here.

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15 Responses for “88-Year-Old Palm Coast Man Dies of Gunshot, 3rd Elderly Suicide in Seven Weeks in Flagler”

  1. south florida says:


  2. Fernando Melendez says:

    Clearly all felt distressed enough to go through the decision of ending their lives, and that spells trouble in paradise for our elderly who are no doubt going through many issues besides health and finances. I think the county has to implement an aggressive campaign with an outreach program so our elderly folks have some kind of an outlet or a place to go to seek the help they need or have questions answered. And if you look around Palm Coast it’s quite evident that a lot of out elderly folks are forced to go back into employment to try to make ends meet, that alone it’s a tremendous burden on them. Next time you go we just look who the waiters are in your fast food restaurants and you’ll see what I’m talking about. 😞

  3. Anonymous says:

    my sincere condolences to the family. May he rest in peace.

  4. Bc. says:

    Wow very sad but when you are sick and in pain we should have doctors assistance with end of life like many European countries have in place very sad RIP.

  5. Really says:

    RIP Lad

  6. BeachGuy says:

    I’m gonna blame this one on the gun. Had he not had a gun, I’m sure he would have lived happily ever after.

  7. ItIsThe.. says:

    I’m is sad because someone ended their live without a doctor doing it for them like the Europeans do? Or it is sad that someone felt such despair they felt suicide was the answer?

  8. Bc. says:

    @beachbguy LOL

  9. Trailer Bob says:

    Sad for the family and friends, but sometimes people feel like they would like to leave this earth on their own term. I have already decided that if I were sick enough to drain all of our assets and leave my wife broke, that I would have been selfish if I had not taken care of the situation on my own. RIP Sir. My deepest condolences to the family.

  10. really says:

    To anyone that can still say this is a gun issue is annoying at this point. A gun doesn’t pull the trigger on its own, someone makes that decision. If someone is living in such pain to want to end their life they’ll find a way to do it.

  11. Jenn says:

    The entire situation is very sad I believe if he didn’t have a gun he would have found another way to take his life we all do not know how truly sick this man was. So why don’t we all stopped for a moment and pray for his family and for him to rest in peace

  12. JohnX says:

    One of the situations we have is people are living longer. and the longer they live, the less they have to justify their existence. What is my purpose in life? Does anyone care? Is there a reason for me to continue to put up with pain, oh this awful pain! Joe made the breakfast and then said “No Mas.” He made a quick, executive decision, no fuss, no muss. No calling to beg people to do something for him. No one is at fault. Bless him Lord, I hope you can see fit to bestow on Joe, and Robert, all the happiness and kindness that the afterlife should bring.

  13. BeachGuy says:

    @ Really…… point exactly!

  14. Bernie 2020 says:

    Have to wonder if these people had issues paying for their medical treatment. I really wonder if we had a better healthcare system people like this wouldn’t feel so hopeless.

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