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Pennsylvania man dies by suicide in Harford County Detention Center, sheriff’s office says

An inmate at the Harford County Detention Center died Wednesday after hanging himself in his cell last weekend, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.

Jack Lazar, 51, of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, was booked into the detention center as a fugitive from another jurisdiction, the office reported. He was awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania and being held without bond on charges of trespassing, unlawful taking and criminal mischief, according to the sheriff’s office. He had been in the detention center since July 3, the office reported.

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At approximately 8:40 p.m. July 10, deputies performing a regular inmate check in the housing unit found Lazar unresponsive in his cell with a sheet attached to his bed around his neck, the office reported. Deputies called for medical staff from the detention center and other available deputies to respond, starting CPR and using an AED, according to the sheriff’s office.

Medics from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company and Harford County Department of Emergency Services responded and continued to administer care, the office said. Lazar was taken to the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center by ambulance for continued care. He died from his injuries July 14.

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The sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division had opened an investigation into his suicide attempt in accordance with policy, the sheriff’s office reported. Lazar is the first jail suicide this year, spokesperson for the office Kyle Andersen said.

Lazar was placed on routine monitoring by the jail’s healthcare provider on July 5 “due to statements made and physical health challenges,” Andersen said. This involved him being placed on a 15-minute watch. The day after that, Lazar spoke with medical personnel and it was determined that monitoring could be returned to periodic checks by medical personnel and the regular tours conducted by correctional deputies.

The housing unit Lazar was in is constantly monitored by cameras and a deputy in the housing area, Andersen said. Deputies tour the tiers every 30 minutes, and cameras monitor the common areas, though not individual cells, he said.

The jail has reported several deaths by hanging — the most common method of suicide in jails — since 2019.

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The last suicide in the jail came on April 24, 2020, when Randy Craig Gisiner, of Joppa, was found unresponsive in his cell with a sheet around his neck, also an apparent hanging, according to the sheriff’s office.

On May 1, 2019, deputies said they found 56-year-old Tommy Wayne Pardew Sr., of Havre de Grace, unresponsive in his cell around 1 p.m. with his clothing wrapped around his neck. On April 10, 2019, 30-year-old Marlyn William Barnes, of Gwynn Oak, was found unresponsive in his cell after hanging himself with a sheet, the office reported.

No further information about Lazar’s death is being released at this time, according to the sheriff’s office. His body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the official cause of death. The investigation remains open.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated when the sheriff’s office began its investigation of Mr. Lazar’s death. It has been updated to reflect accurate information.

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