Authorities have concluded that Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old Black man found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California on June 10, died by suicide.
Sheriff’s Cmdr. Chris Marks said the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s probe determined that Fuller took his own life.
“Investigators have met with the coroner’s office and discussed the final results,” Marks said. “Just this afternoon, the medical examiner issued their final autopsy report and delivered it to the Sheriff’s Department and deemed this case to be a suicide.”
Initially, L.A. County sheriff’s detectives ruled Fuller’s cause of death was suicide, which led to criticism of the department.
“A small segment of the community, and – unfortunately – a significant representation of county government elected leaders were trying to propel the narrative,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “But the overwhelming majority of the public trusts the Sheriff’s Department. And as you can see, we complete an investigation and then we report on the results.”
He continued: “This death investigation, obviously, is of great concern to the community, not only of Palmdale, but throughout the nation. Robert Fuller was a young man in the prime of his life, and his death obviously is painful for many people.”
Three other Black men have been discovered hanging from a tree nationwide within the last two months.
Amani Kildea, 20, was found in Lewis Morris Park Sunday, June 28, about an hour from his home, according to MorristownGreen. Friends and family remembered Kildea, who graduated from basic training as a Military Policeman in the Army Reserves in February, for his sensitivity toward mankind, and his sense of humor, the report says. He dreamed of becoming an FBI or CIA agent, and was set to attend James Madison University in the fall, the report notes.
On June 15, an unidentified man was reportedly found dead and hanging from a tree in a vacant lot in Houston’s Shady Acres neighborhood. According to Houston Police Spokesperson Jodi Silva, the death is “believed to be a suicide,” however the official cause of death is pending until an autopsy is performed.
Malcolm Harsch was found dead in similar circumstances on May 31. He was found less than fifty miles from where Fuller's body was discovered. In both cases, local authorities quickly ruled the deaths as suicide, saying no foul play was involved. However, community members and the families of the deceased are not convinced, and demand further investigation into the deaths.
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