Early-morning standoff one of growing number of suicidal calls in county

Medford police ended a standoff peacefully after two hours of negotiation in the 300 block of Benson Street early this morning, authorities said in a news release.

Police responded to a 911 call at 1:46 a.m. reporting Danny Allen Burlington, 29, was threatening to kill himself. They arrived to see Burlington standing in the middle of the street with what appeared to be a gun to his head. The weapon turned out to be a fake when police confiscated it later.

"You cannot tell the difference unless you're physically holding them," said Lt. Mike Budreau of Medford police.

Police put up a perimeter and evacuated several nearby homes.

Budreau said Burlington surrendered just before 4 a.m. Police seized the replica handgun and cited Burlington for disorderly conduct. He was taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center for a mental health evaluation.

Budreau said it's not law enforcement's first run-in with Burlington. Budreau said police also responded to an incident in July in the 3000 block of Sheridan Street, where he was threatening suicide with a .22-caliber pistol. Budreau said Burlington shot himself in the shoulder during the incident and was later charged with felon in possession of a firearm. Court records show he entered a not-guilty plea to the charge Aug. 9 and was awaiting a Sept. 10 pre-trial hearing.

"We certainly hope mental health (services) will be doing the best they can to meet his mental needs," Budreau said.

The incident highlights the growing number of suicide attempts and suicides in Jackson County. For the first six months of 2012, Medford police have responded to 186 emergency calls reporting suicidal subjects, up nearly 11 percent from the first six months of 2011. For 2011, police said they saw a 42 percent increase in suicide attempts from 2010.

"We're doing it more than we've ever done," Budreau said. "It's very concerning for us."

— Ryan Pfeil

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