Home Main Category Breaking News Moraga Police Close Moraga Road At Donald; Suicidal Subject Kills Self

Moraga Police Close Moraga Road At Donald; Suicidal Subject Kills Self

Photo: Cathy Saunders Ghiselli

Lamorinda police closed down a sizable stretch of Moraga Road at Donald Drive Wednesday as a resident armed himself, threatened suicide and ultimately shot himself as police attempted to intervene.

Donald Drive was closed and a significant police response was put in place shortly after the incident was first reported at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday.

Police were reportedly in the area in support of medical personnel attempting to check on the person, described as a Donald Drive resident in his 50s – who had called police, telling dispatchers he was upset over personal issues and making threats of suicide.

Officers responded to the home and encountered the caller, who was brandishing a handgun of undetermined type, and who was alternately holding the weapon to his head or putting it in his mouth.

Police requested assistance from neighboring jurisdictions and negotiated with the for more than 15 minutes, repeatedly asking him to put down his weapon, when the individual put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Firefighters initiated life-saving measures and the person was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek where he was pronounced dead.

Children at nearby Donald Rheem Elementary had to run in from recess when school administration called for the school to be locked down during the incident – staying under cover for about 20 minutes until an all-clear was given, according to parents. 

Parents said the school had held a shelter in place/lockdown drill just last last month.

With a hard closure on Donald Drive, students had to be dismissed onto Ascot Drive.



  1. We are so insulated here things like this are doubly hard when they happen. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  2. Hopefully the police and fire people will get some help with that. It couldn’t have bene easy to witness.

  3. Not a first for Moraga – in the 90s a JM student found his father’s handgun and accidentally shot and killed himself.

  4. News spreading tonight as people get home. I’m hearing this person had children at local schools. Heartbreaking situation and absolute nightmare scenario for officials.

  5. Not a first for Moraga – in the 90s, a JM student found his father’s gun and accidentally shot and killed himself.

    • We do. We don’t normally release the names of those who take their own lives, but the public nature of this incident may override that policy. We will also say that we have withheld an identification out of concern for the man’s family, who are obviously struggling with this news.

  6. I don’t know the family, but I did grow up in Moraga. I hope the names aren’t released. I understand (and respect) it’s a “business decision,” and the decision is at the discretion of the business owner. Juveniles are protected for a reason. They’re kids. It would serve no purpose to release the names, but it would humiliate the family. Erring on the side of common decency and respect for the family will continue to validate the reputation of a reputable news source…News 24/680.

    • Nice post, Danielle. Thanks for taking the time to write. Just a minor point of clarification: any decision to release the name we have associated with this incident will not be made as a “business decision,” but rather to preserve the public’s right to a full accounting of an incident which – and we don’t think we’re overstating this – paralyzed a large portion of the community and prompted a significant police response yesterday. We are weighing that responsibility, never take it lightly, and will ultimately make a decision based on those specific guidelines and the public’s right to know. There’s no “business” in it, trust us.

  7. Was yesterday’s report that the person was juvenile inaccurate? I see the story was updated state it was a man in his 50’s.

    • Our initial report, made at the time the incident was unfolding, included a report that the person may have been a juvenile and we did mention that, yes. As we’re sure you’re aware, or at least hope you do, breaking news situations rarely if ever unfold with perfect 20/20 clarity.

    • Morning, CJ… now standard operating procedure, sadly, whenever there’s an armed presence near a local school here (or anywhere else in the nation following the Columbine/Newtown school shootings). And as we’ve heard there were kids on the D.L.Rheem playground that afternoon.

  8. Kudos to this site for the timely and informative coverage of this situation as it happened. From the first alert we received to the final story the whole matter was handled with sensitivity and skill. We are only sorry it didn’t have a happier ending.

  9. Matt, how thoughtful and kind. Our community and Elaine Frank of Rheem Elementary are starting a fund for the family, Stress was increasing as a severance package decreased from last employer of deceased.

    • If the folks behind the fund drive want to get word out to the community on best ways to help, let us know.

  10. According to an email from the school district today, a memorial for the man will be held on Saturday at MVPC. He left behind four kids between the ages of 4 and 18 (my son knows one of the children). Hold a kind thought or prayer for them and the rest of his family.

  11. I used to go to rheem when this happend, I was in 1st grade, It was very scary, I remember running into the classroom scearming. I know the the mans son. He is in the same grade as me. He carries his dads ashes in a necklace. May he Rip… Fly high..

Leave a Reply