William Robert Dalton, a 29-year-old combat veteran and resident of Barrington Drive in Palm Coast, died of a self-inflicted gunshot Saturday, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
Married just shy of a year and not long after he’d bought the house on Barrington, Dalton was the father of an infant boy and was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He was in treatment for severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, his wife told sheriff’s deputies. He had ups and downs, and would get upset at certain things, as he did in the hours before the suicide.
Authorities were called to the scene just after 5 p.m. Saturday. Dalton’s wife told deputies she tried to take his rifle away from him when he was upset, but he had locked himself up with the rifle. Deputies found the front glass door shattered and evidence of Dalton’s anger around the house. The couple’s child, born just a few months ago, was asleep in the playpen in the living room.
The sheriff’s crime scene investigation unit and detectives responded to the house.
The suicide of veterans in the United States is at crisis proportions, increasing by 50 percent between 2007 and 2017. The latest Veterans Administration report on the matter found that 17 veterans died of suicide, on average, each day in 2017, 1.5 times the rate of people who have not served in the military. The rate of suicide among female veterans is higher. But the number is an undercount, as it doesn’t include more than 900 National Guard and Reserve members.
The report states “no all-encompassing explanation” for veteran suicides and “no single medical cause, etiology, or treatment or prevention strategy.”
The number of suicides in Flagler County has risen significantly over the past 10 years, with 28 suicides recorded in the county in 2017 and 29 recorded in 2018. The figure includes suicides of individuals who have traveled to Flagler County from elsewhere and killed themselves in the county. Sheriff’s detectives investigated two such suicides in the last few weeks alone. Flagler’s rate of suicides remains among the highest in the state. Local governments and organizations have been wrestling with the crisis for the past few years, including the school board.
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.