The mother of the 34-year-old woman who shot and killed herself outside the Dimond Courthouse in downtown Juneau earlier this week said she believes her daughter chose the public site for the act because “she felt the courts let her down.”
Barbara Davison said her daughter, Miranda Ellen Davison, struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues in recent years and that she had purposefully sought to be arrested last year (which she was for smashing thousands of dollars of electronics at Walmart with a hatchet) because she felt incarceration could help her.
“People go ‘Why did she pick there?” the elder Davison said in an interview Friday. “The only thing I can speculate now is that’s where she hoped the help would have came from — was from the courts. And she felt the courts let her down.”
Davison said her daughter sought treatment for mental health issues once from the Juneau Alliance For Mental Health where she received anti-depressants, and twice from Bartlett Regional Hospital, though she did not specify the type of treatment, all before the Walmart incident made headlines. She also visited a private practice psychiatrist off and on.
Miranda told her mother around that time she thought that incarceration was her only answer.
Suicide is an issue that affects all Alaskans, but there is hope, the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition said in a letter provided to the Empire Friday.
“With the recent public suicide in Juneau, the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition wants to reassure community members there is hope,” the letter reads. “There is no denying that Alaska has a high rate of suicide. But, the fact is that MOST Alaskans do NOT attempt or complete suicide.”
Help is always available through the 24/7 confidential Alaska Careline, 1-877-266-4357 (HELP). The crisis line can also help friends or family members who are struggling and need support.
The Coalition also offers resources to anyone impacted by suicides in Juneau.
The Juneau Police Department on Friday told the Empire that they have finished their investigation of the Monday shooting. Sgt. Chris Gifford said they identified and interviewed the man who dropped Davison off at the courthouse that morning, and cleared him of any wrongdoing. Barbara Davison said that person did not know what her daughter had planned to do.
The suicide, which took place across from the Alaska State Capitol on Fourth Street, drew attention downtown as ambulances responded to the area and whisked her away. The street was closed down for about an hour as police conducted an investigation. The Capitol building initially shut down briefly as well, out of security concerns over the gunshot and the possibility of an active shooter. Multiple people were nearby when the jarring incident took place.
Police confiscated the gun used in the incident at the scene. Sgt. Gifford said the department still does not know who the gun was registered to, but they will run the weapon through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives database before it is possibly returned to an owner.
On Friday, Barbara Davison said before the May 2015 Walmart incident, her daughter was a “model employee” at the Wildflower Court nursing care and rehabilitation center where she worked as a certified nurses assistant for several years.
Things took a turn for the worse, her mother said, when Miranda began a relationship five years ago with Jose Antonio Delgado. Delgado, 47, is currently at Lemon Creek Correctional Center facing five felony charges related to a drive-by shooting incident that took place on Feb. 24.
Davison said her daughter began using methamphetamine shortly after the relationship with Delgado started. Mental health issues followed shortly after.
“It took her brain over, that’s the way I feel, it destroyed her brain and she wasn’t coming back,” Davison said.
Barbara Davison also noted that her husband and Miranda’s father, Larry Davison, died from a heart attack in November. Miranda had discovered his body in his bedroom. That, coupled with fighting “voices” in her head, took a toll on her, her mother said.
• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or email@example.com.
Editors note: Are you in crisis and need help? If you are looking for help for yourself or others, please talk to someone. Call the Alaska Careline at 1-877-266-HELP, or text 4help to 839863 from 3-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. You can also visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Alaska Community Mental Health Centers or juneausuicideprevention.org.