A 35-year-old Wadsworth man jumped to his death from the recently fenced-in All-America Bridge in Akron.
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Akron Police Department are investigating the death of Richard Barnett III of Wadsworth.
Barnett climbed on top of his vehicle and over the new fence on the bridge before jumping about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, the medical examiner said in a news release.
He was pronounced dead at 8:46 p.m. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday, the medical examiner said.
A nearly $9 million project to refurbished the bridge and add a fence was completed this year.
A statement from Mayor Don Plusquellic’s office said City Hall employees “are saddened to hear that someone has chosen to take their life by jumping off the All-America Bridge.”
“We installed fencing that we knew would act as a deterrent to potential jumpers and that we knew would prevent suicides. However, if someone wants to kill themselves, they will find a way to do so, fence or not. What we have done by installing the fence is to provide an immediate barrier, which makes it harder for potential jumpers to act impulsively.
“That moment of pause the fence provides has been proven to deter suicide attempts,” the mayor’s office said.
Akron City Council President Marco Sommerville said he will talk with Service Director Rick Merolla and the mayor to determine whether the city can do anything more to deter suicide attempts.
“We are sorry that someone took their life, particularly after we tried to do everything we could to make sure that nobody would — the grading and the fence height and all that,” Sommerville said.
“We have to find ways in the community to work with people who have [mental health] problems.”