Man dies in crosswalk just off campus

Possible suicide takes place on El Portal Drive


George Morin / The Advocate

The crosswalk on El Portal Drive leading up to Contra Costa College was the site of a possible suicide at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

By Lorenzo Morotti, Editor-In-Chief

The victim of a suspected suicide at a crosswalk on El Portal Drive on the morning of Sept. 10 has been identified as Justin Liu, a 27-year-old transient male, Contra Costa County Sheriff Coroner’s Department Deputy Scott Anderson said.

Sgt. Brian Bubar, of the San Pablo Police Department, was the watch officer on duty when the incident happened at the crosswalk 50 feet from where Castro Road, on the Contra Costa College campus, meets El Portal Drive.

San Pablo Police Commander David Krastof said  that officers responded to “a man down,” at 5:23 a.m. He said upon arrival, officers reported that Lui suffered from what appeared to be “a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” He said the officers preserved the scene and documented their observations until first responders pronounced Lui dead at the scene.

The San Pablo Police Department then contacted the Sheriff’s coroner’s department who is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the suicide.

At 8 a.m. the day of the incident a cleanup crew began to wash the site of blood with a mixture of water and cleaning chemicals. By 8:30 a.m. police and first responders finished cleaning the area and reopened the crosswalk and El Portal Drive to traffic.

Bubar was at the scene of the incident and later said, “What I can tell you is that it was not a homicide.”
District Police Services Chief Charles Gibson said the incident falls under the jurisdiction of the San Pablo Police Department because it occurred on the west side of CCC’s campus.

San Pablo Police Chief Lisa G. Rosales said Liu’s next of kin have been contacted and the investigation is now under the Contra Costa County Sheriff Department’s jurisdiction.

Sheriff Coroner’s Department Deputy Chad Pryor said he can’t release the cause of death until the coroner’s report is completed.

Police Services Lt. Jose Oliveira said any police department is exempt from releasing what would normally be public information when doing so may impede that department’s investigation.
“It’s standard practice involving suicides,” Oliveira said.

“Imagine hearing news that a family member may have killed themselves through a media group, instead of an officer contacting the family. (It’s) a more personal way.”