BEND, OREGON – Last Thursday, 19-year-old Kipp Rusty Walker killed himself in front of a crowd of about 15 people at an open mic hosted by Strictly Organic Coffee Company, a locally-owned cafe.
After a short keyboard performace, Walker stood up without saying a word, produced a knife, and began to stab himself repeatedly. “It was a double-edged type blade knife,” police Sgt. Chris Carney said.
“It was really unclear at first what was even happening,” said Rhonda Ealy, co-owner of Strictly Organic. “You know it is an open mic and it’s a performance, people at first thought it was some sort of theater.”
From the KTVZ report:
[A] friend of Walker, who did not want to be named or be on camera, told NewsChannel 21 the sad truth is Walker wasn’t depressed – he just didn’t want to live anymore. And disturbingly enough, Walker had planned to kill himself in a public place, according to his friend.
“It was almost like he wanted to prove a point, like there’s no point in being scared of death because it’s going to happen to us anyway,” the friend said.
Reminiscent of musician Elliott Smith’s highly-publicized suicide, the technicalities of how Walker managed to stab himself fatally remain unknown. Naturally, both family members and witnesses of the incident are not yet ready to recall the event, as most are experiencing considerable trauma.
“I actually told him, I was like, ‘Dude, this is going to mess a lot of people up,'” the unnamed friend told KTVZ.
The afternoon after the suicide, the St. Charles Health System officials organized a press conference to discuss suicide prevention. Ealy will be setting up classes, in association with the Bend fire department, for the witnesses of the suicide, to help them make sense out of last Thursday’s events.