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Man takes own life with knife after foot chase

A Lockport man took his life by cutting his own throat Tuesday morning in front of a home on Roosevelt Drive, after a foot chase down Lincoln Avenue.

Joshua D. Verity, 35, of Forest Hill Road, was pronounced dead in Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport just after 10:15 a.m.

City patrols responded to a report just after 9:30 a.m. of a man in a towel, which turned out to be white boxer shorts, running down Lincoln Avenue, carrying a butcher knife and trying to harm himself.

Verity had taken a sport utility vehicle from a city home, which was later found abandoned a few blocks away.

Police Officers Michael Stover and Michael Wasik located Verity on Hoover Parkway, repeatedly stabbing himself in the neck, according to police reports.

The two tried to talk to Verity and calm him down but were unable to approach him as he threatened to harm both the officers and himself. Police Chief Lawrence Eggert said Stover, a trained hostage negotiator, tried to talk to Verity but was unable to connect.

"It's one of those things, all the training you have, it just wasn't working," Eggert said. "It was a very violent situation."

He said residents also were in danger and his officers tried to keep close to Verity as he ran through yards in a five-block foot chase which ended in front of a home on Roosevelt Drive.

"Someone that violent and erratic someone out mowing their lawn now becomes a potential victim," Eggert said.

While neighbors watched and police tried to intervene, Verity cut his throat.

Police, still unable to approach him, finally used a Taser to bring Verity under control. Eggert said Verity continued to fight in the ambulance.

"The officers did everything they could," Eggert said. "They tried repeatedly, I mean repeatedly, to try to get him to put down the knife. But he just wasn't reasoning, and every time they would get close he would charge at them or run the other way."

Eggert called it a "horrible situation" that affected all of those involved.

"Even though they did a good job, they are all affected because they couldn't save this guy," Eggert said. "That's our focus -- to save this guy and get him in some treatment. In this particular case, that just wasn't going to be. That's hard to take when your focus is saving lives."

State police and the Niagara County Sheriff's Office also were called to the scene.

Eggert said officials are continuing to investigate but still don't know what led Verity to take his own life.

Verity has had his troubles in recent years, according to Buffalo News archives.

His brother, Jonathan M. Verity, 21, died in August 2008, after he fell 60 feet into the Erie Canal following a Molson Canal Concert Series event.

Verity was a passenger in a crash April 15 on Route 31 that left him with minor injuries and took the life of the driver, Christina George, 29. An argument between the two likely sparked the crash, according to investigators.