Salvatore Randazzo, a 59-year-old resident of Esperanto Drive in Palm Coast and a retired New York City corrections officer, died in an apparent suicide on Friday (July 19) from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home. He had reportedly been battling cancer and given only a few months to live in spring, when he ceased treatment.
A Flagler County Sheriff’s incident report suggests Randazzo had called 911 and was heard saying something about a “self-inflicted gunshot wound” before 911 dispatchers heard what sounded like a gunshot.
Sheriff’s deputies found the front door at 65 Esperanto unlocked, and a suicide note in the house. They found Randazzo in a chair on his back porch, a black handgun at his feet. A Palm Coast paramedic pronounced Salvatore Randazzo dead at 9:36 p.m., and a crime scene was established at the house, as is routine in such circumstances.
Randazzo had left funeral arrangements and vehicle information on the kitchen counter, and power of attorney information and the suicide note, along with additional paperwork, on a dresser in the bedroom. By then a neighbor had already notified Randazzo’s son of the incident.
According to a letter his son wrote Flagler County circuit court on May 21, Randazzo, who’s owned the property on Esperanto since 2008, had been battling cancer, was terminal and was, at the time his son wrote the letter, “in the last few months the doctor gave him to live. He currently and since March has stopped all of his cancer treatment and stopped all of his medications.” His son was under the impression that his gun license had been revoked.
Writing the court, his son described how his father would call him in Connecticut to describe the difficult conditions he’d fallen to because of his illness, his inability to take care of two dogs or care for himself or even go to his radiation appointments or walk. His son and his son’s wife sold two vehicles and left their home in Connecticut to move down to take care of him, for a time living in an RV in Flagler Beach while taking care of him.
It isn’t clear when Randazzo’s son and wife and their 4-year-old son moved into the house at 65 Esperanto. But in mid-April, Randazzo filed an “unlawful detainer” in circuit court against his son and daughter in law, an action they didn’t become aware of until they tried to rent a house in Tampa several weeks later. In the letter, which was prompted by the court action, Randazzo’s son described how they’d had to leave the house on April 1 after Randazzo, who was suffering from depression and memory loss, had become so violent as to wave a gun at his family, saying terribly abusive things to their child, threatening them. The family had to seek shelter at the Family Life Center. Randazzo was briefly Baker Acted.
The letter included a document from the sheriff’s office informing Randazzo’s son that as of April 1, it had been determined that “you may be at risk of violence” from Randazzo, and that the sheriff’s office intended to petition the court for a risk protection order prohibiting Randazzo from having guns in his custody. No such risk protection order appears on the court’s docket.
Randazzo’s would be the 15th suicide in Flagler County this year, continuing a trend that had sent the county’s suicide rate at or near the top among Florida counties and alarming local authorities and social service advocates.
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), or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat, both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
People 60 and older can call the Institute on Aging’s 24-hour, toll-free Friendship Line at 800-971-0016. IOA also makes ongoing outreach calls to lonely older adults.