Cory Michael McClure, a 25-year-old Realtor who’d struggled through agonizing physical pain for several years, took his own life at a house on Kashmir Trail in Palm Coast Wednesday morning.
Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the house when 911 got a call in reference to an attempted suicide there. The first deputy who arrived performed CPR on McClure, who was unresponsive. Another deputy found McClure had no pulse and appeared to have died earlier in the day.
Flagler County Fire Rescue arrived at the scene and pronounced McClure dead at 11:33 a.m.
According to the sheriff’s office, he had hung himself in a bedroom with a belt. His 67-year-old mother found him. He’d left a suicide note in the living room.
The sheriff’s office followed its normal steps in such circumstances, investigating the case with its detectives and crime scene investigators before releasing the scene.
McClure’s is the latest in a string of suicides in Flagler that have been mobilizing officials’ attention and concerns over the lack of awareness of a continuing crisis, and a dearth of services to address them. In mid-January, a 17-year-old student at Palm Coast High School ended her life by hanging, one of three teens to die by suicide in 18 months in the county. A 27-year-old man and long-time Flagler resident died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at an apartment in a motel in Ormond-By-the-Sea. (The sheriff’s office there was responding to an attempted suicide call, but the family claims it was an accident. The medical examiner has not ruled on that death yet.)
McClure’s death caught the attention of Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins before it was reported when members of McClure’s gun club contacted him and told him they’d lost one of their own, prompting Mullins to call for more concerted action on suicide in Flagler, which had the highest suicide rate in Florida in 2017.
“We’re going to do something about this. This is too much,” Mullins, who said he’d once been in the verge of suicide, said. He is now the chairman of the Public Safety Coordinating Council, a group of law enforcement, judicial and social service agency heads who normally meet every month in Bunnell (the group hasn’t met in about nine months.) Mullins said he will add a discussion of suicide to the agenda of the Feb. 13 meeting and seek to invite representatives of Flagler Cares, the organization focused in part on suicide awareness, to the table. “We’ve got something occurring that we’ve got to figure out what’s going on,” Mullins said.
McClure had become seriously ill from an abdominal disease when he was 20. He emerged from the illness realizing that, his mother’s heroic care on his behalf aside, he’d have to live with pain and give up some of the things he cherished most in life, a career in music among them. “With every victory in dealing with sickness there are still battles that are lost,” he’d written publicly in a long Facebook post in late 2016 as he took stock of his life, describing his recurring pain in many parts of his body as “agonizing.”
“I deal with the emotional trauma of being so very sick and that mental damage has changed me making me tougher, more depressed, and more angry, and more emotionally up and down,” he’d written, describing himself as “crushed” by the way the illness had hijacked his natural competitiveness and perfectionism, his drive for all things challenging. He nevertheless got stronger, turning to shooting guns as a means to work through the pain even as it sometimes added to it.
McClure took pride in his skills, his participation in tournaments and various goals he set himself on the range, posting many of his accomplishments through videos at his Facebook page. He was also outspoken about gun safety. “People underestimate the amount of time needed to train to become an asset to the community,” he told the News-Journal three years ago, in the context of a story about the rise in concealed weapon licenses in the area. He’d had his license since 2014. “I don’t think they really know just how powerful a gun is.”
The summary of his accomplishment after a day at the range last November was characteristic of his verve and precision: “I very [much] enjoyed my usual match at Volusia Gun Club this previous Sunday. I was most pleased with how I shot the long range stage. This stage has a par time of 120 seconds. The first target is 100 yards, the second (hardest) kneeling target is 200 yards, and the third prone is at 320 yards. I completed the entire stage around 99 seconds and you were given 5 pistol shots to hit the 100 yard target with every hit giving you 10 seconds off your total score. So I got a 79 on the stage. Not the fastest of the day I was told, but still great performance from my Eric Hollis Slings 68 grain Hornady special reloads.”
His colleagues on the range prized his presence. “He was one of the friendliest people on the range,” one said on his Facebook page Thursday. “He had such a bright and pleasant personality, he was always smiling. He made new shooters feel welcome and comfortable, he was kind, patient and encouraging. From the first time he helped me at the carbine match, I would always try to get on his squad. He worked hard at every match to help everyone out and he radiated positive energy. He will be missed dearly. The matches will not be the same without him.”
Once a member of the Lions Club and always a drummer, McClure had wanted to be a musician but had grown up around construction sites, had even worked on a tractor, among other jobs, and finally joined his mother as a Realtor in what they called “The McClure Team.”
“Well, it is crazy how life brings you through different adventures that you had never planned. I never thought I’d be a realtor like my mom and dad, but look at me now,” he wrote in 2016, a brightness reflected in broad smiles in picture after picture.
Earlier that year, in the long post when he’d described his health’s struggles, he’d concluded with words treading on the prophetic: “I will achieve, I will succeed, and most importantly I will help others through their pain, suffering, and loss. I know about things that most people don’t experience until they are very old and that makes me unique. I like being unique even if being unique in this world can make you a very lonely person which I have been. At the end of the day I realize life on this planet is truly a microscopic blip on a timeline of billions of years of things living, changing, adapting, and ultimately dying. So, I’m gonna try to be happy in my life and am going to love passionately, live courageously, speak truthfully, and treat others kindly. Even though human life is a short episode of time on a planet older than we can even conceive my short little life will be one that has a good impact, and I hope to the bottom of my heart will be one that people fondly remember.”
The following resources are available for individuals in crisis:
In Flagler: The Crisis Triage and Treatment Unit (CTTU) is a crisis assessment and referral service for Flagler County residents experiencing behavioral health crisis. It is located at 301 Justice Lane in the Brown & Brown Outpatient building at the Vince Carter Sanctuary in Bunnell. This program is limited to individuals escorted to the program by law enforcement between the hours of noon and midnight daily. Law enforcement is able to transport individuals to SMA to assess and determine the appropriate clinical disposition. When required and appropriate, SMA then transports the individual to a receiving facility in Volusia County.
In Daytona Beach: Stewart-Marchman Act Corporation Crisis Center
1220 Willis Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Crisis Line: (800) 539 – 4228
Available 24 hours.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800/273-8255 (TALK).