NEW ORLEANS—Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman today announced the death of inmate Michael Hitzman, W/M, 11/3/78, from an apparent suicide.
Hitzman, who had several prior arrests, was surrendered on Friday at 4:53 P.M. on a Criminal Court Capias for heroin possession.
Upon arrival, he was screened by OPCSO's medical staff. He appeared calm and responded to all commands. Upon observation, his forearms had apparent infectious areas indicative of intravenous drug use. The nurse contacted the physician on duty who prescribed an antibiotic and scheduled him for a follow-up clinical appointment.
Approximately ninety minutes after his arrival, the Sheriff's Intake and Processing Center staff observed belligerent, uncooperative behavior as Hitzman attempted to exit through the emergency doors. For his own safety as well as the safety of OPCSO personnel and the other inmates, he was placed into an individual holding cell at 6:03 P.M.
At 7:14 P.M., a deputy conducted a visual check on Hitzman and found he had apparently strangled himself with his t-shirt attached to the cell door. Medical staff responded immediately and attempted to resucitate him, however their efforts and the efforts of EMS were unsuccessful.
At no time during the booking and screening process for this arrest, or any prior arrests, or during any of his prior incarcerations, did Hitzman express or exhibit any suicidal tendencies or ideations.
A full autopsy is being conducted by the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office.