- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A veteran drove to the Phoenix VA headquarters and fatally shot himself in the parking lot Sunday night, police said.

Thomas Murphy, 53, arrived at the Phoenix VA regional office with a goodbye note and a gun, apparently intending to end his life, police said. The VA released a statement saying the death was under investigation, a local Fox affiliate reported.

Brandon Coleman, a Phoenix VA employee who has been on leave since he came forward to blow the whistle on the lack of care for suicidal veterans, said he believed Mr. Murphy was trying to make a statement against the local VA.

“I don’t think there’s anything more symbolic than to complete suicide on VA grounds,” Mr. Coleman told the Fox affiliate. “It’s an ultimate slap in the face to the VA, that something is wrong, to take the extra step to want to finish the act of suicide on VA property so that way you’re and they have to clean up the mess.”

Mr. Coleman said he didn’t personally know the veteran, but “normally when this occurs it has something to do with the veterans claim or appeal not being worked correctly or a lack of much needed medical care.”

“I think he would want to speak with us about this, I think it was an ultimate show of disregard and just frustration with a broken system,” Mr. Coleman said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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