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TEEN NOT SEEN AS SUICIDAL, JAIL HEAD SAYS

Erie County Holding Center personnel had no reason to suspect that a Buffalo teen who hanged himself last week was suicidal, the head of the facility said Tuesday.

Christian Johns, 18, of Parkdale Avenue died Thursday in Erie County Medical Center, one day after he was found hanging from a bar in his cell after fashioning a noose from his shoelaces.

He was being held on burglary and larceny charges involving the theft of a computer.

"We did the standard assessment, and there was no reason to believe he was suicidal, and therefore he was not on a suicide watch," said H. McCarthy Gipson, superintendent of the facility.

Johns, who was in a cell by himself, was found at about 3:25 p.m. last Wednesday by a deputy coming on duty. He had last been checked at about 3 p.m., the department said.

Johns had recently finished a game of chess with another inmate, and there was no reason to believe he was troubled enough to take his own life, Gipson said.

Johns was resuscitated and rushed to Sheehan Memorial Hospital but never regained consciousness, Gipson said.

There were three previous suicide attempts in the past eight months that were prevented by deputies, Sheriff Patrick Gallivan said.

"This is truly an unfortunate incident for everyone involved," Gallivan said. "Our staff not only does everything in its power to avoid a situation like this, but we do everything in our power to save lives once the suicide attempt occurs."

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