Veteran dies by self-inflicted gunshot in crowded VA waiting room

Elizabeth Howe
April 12, 2019 - 10:24 am

Photo courtesy of Veterans Affairs

Last Tuesday, in a crowded Austin Veterans Affairs clinic waiting room, a veteran seeking help shot himself. 

According to KWTX, the veteran was a patient enrolled in a program at his local VA in Phoenix. For unknown reasons, he was transferred to the facility in Austin. 

“When he found out he couldn’t get the help he needed there, he chose to take his own life,” McLennan County Veteran's Service Officer Steve Hernandez told KWTX. “What’s going on is concerning and the actions undertaken so far speak for themselves.”

This incident in Texas closely follows two veteran suicides outside two different Georgia VA Medical Centers over two days last weekend.

Both the VA facilities in Georgia provided statements to Connecting Vets that expressed condolences and communicated that they were reviewing policies and procedures to determine if "changes are warranted." The Austin VA released the same statement following Tuesday's incident. The facility also deployed the McAllen Mobile Vet Center to offer crisis counseling. 

In response to those deaths, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Senator Johnny Isakson (R - Ga.) also released a statement reaffirming his commitment to combating veteran suicide. 

RELATED: Two veterans in two days die by suicide outside two different Georgia VA Medical Centers

"The loss of even one veteran to suicide is unacceptable and devastating," the statement read. "Preventing veteran suicide remains a top priority for our committee, and I will continue working with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to ensure the VA has the resources it needs and the accountability in place to make sure we are doing everything we can to prevent veteran suicide.”

Last month, Trump also signed an executive order to prevent veteran suicide. 

RELATED: Trump signed an executive order to prevent veteran suicide. Here’s what’s inside.

“We’re going to take care of our veterans, we’re working so hard on this,” Trump said about the order. “We’re going to take care of them like never before.” 

If any Veteran is in crisis, we encourage him or her to visit the closest VA health care facility, where Veterans can receive same-day urgent primary and mental health care services. Additionally, Veterans can call the Veterans Crisis Line 24-hours a day, 365-days a year at 1-800-273-8255and Press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.