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Pa. man who killed himself during standoff had no suicidal tendencies, mother says

September 11, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- A Waynesboro, Pa., man who killed himself during a standoff with Pennsylvania State Police on Tuesday had no history of suicidal tendencies, according to his mother.

Lois Morgan of Waynesboro said her son, Richard L. Patterson Jr., 30, never spoke of ending his life, until he called her that afternoon barricaded in a mobile home park off of Grosh Drive.

He was a normal person, she said.

Police said Patterson died Tuesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound not long after he called police to report that he was holding his ex-girlfriend, Letitia Shreves, 27, and her mother Catherine Byrd, 49, hostage in an Antrim Township mobile home over what police called a domestic dispute.

Morgan said she saw her son the day he died, and at the time, he acted much as he always did.

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"When he left (my house) yesterday morning, he said he loved me and would see me later," she said.

Morgan said her son had been living with Shreves and their children for the past eight years.

As a father of twins and father-figure to Shreve's other two children, Morgan said her son did not work because he was a full-time dad.

"He loved those kids," she said.

Police said the standoff Tuesday likely stemmed from a dispute between Patterson and Shreves on Sunday.

Shreves' brother, Mark, said his sister told Patterson over the weekend that she would keep their children from him which made him "snap" and damage items in the home.

Morgan said her son was not a violent man to her knowledge.

It was the thought of losing the children he loved so dearly that pushed him over the edge, she said.

"My son wasn't perfect, but he was not on drugs, either," she said.

Morgan believes she was the last person Patterson spoke to before he died.

His last words were desperate, his mother said.

"He said he could not take it if he could not see his kids, he said was going to kill himself," she said, fighting back emotions. "I told him I loved him and begged him not to do something stupid, but his mind was too far gone to listen to me. He thought he lost his kids."

Despite her last conversation with Patterson, Morgan said the news of her son's death dropped her heart.

"I lost it. I felt like my heart was in my feet," she said. "I lost a little girl 20 years ago in a fire, and now I have lost my son."

Police said Patterson was dead by the time the Special Emergency Response Team entered the mobile home where he barricaded himself Tuesday evening.

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