A 24-hour police effort to prevent an armed Springfield man from taking his life ended yesterday when police rushed the man's home and found him dead inside, Fairfax County police officials reported.
Police identified the man as Christopher Buckingham, 42, of 5904 Veranda Dr. According to police, Buckingham was found dead on his bed shortly after 4 p.m. He suffered multiple wounds to the body that appeared to be self-inflicted, police said, but they would not say what type of weapon had been used.
Police said they did not fire their weapons during the daylong vigil they maintained outside the house, but it could not be determined last night whether Buckingham had fired a.38 caliber revolver that police said he owned. During most of the vigil, police said, Buckingham had remained inside the home alone, talking occasionally by telephone to his wife, Jackie, and police.
Buckingham, who called police himself, appeared to be despondent about a domestic quarrel, police said. They said Buckingham threatened to take his own life.
Police said Jackie Buckingham had been granted a petition from Fairfax County General District Court Saturday to have her husband committed to a mental institution. Police said they had made arrangements during the vigil to have Buckingham taken to the Northern Virginia Mental Health Center.
The incident began about 5 p.m. Saturday, police said, when they received an anonymous phone call from a man saying that someone with a shotgun was snooting out the windows at an address on Veranda Drive.
Police said they later discovered the address mentioned was Buckingham's, and after talking further with the man, discovered that it was Buckingham himself who had called them. Police said they also determined later that no such shotgun incident had occurred.
Buckingham, described by neighbors as an unemployed carpenter and the father of several school-age children, called police several additional times Saturday evening, and on one occasion, threatened to end his life by noon Sunday.
Police said Buckingham also threatened to kill himself if police came to the home.
Shortly after receiving the first calls, police cordoned off the neighborhood around Buckingham's twostory frame home, and about 15 flakjacketed Special Operations Command officers crouched outside the home. Meanwhile other police officials talked with Buckingham by phone, trying to persuade him not to harm himself.
After all efforts to persuade Buckingham to come out had failed, and police had been unable to reach him by phone for some time, officers fired tear gas into the home in an effort to immobilize him, officials said. They said the SOC officers then rushed the house, and, during a room-by-room search, found Buckingham lying dead in bed.
An autopsy is scheduled for today.