Death of suspected SLO parking lot jumper ruled an accident

August 1, 2013
Brian Lawler

Brian Lawler

The San Luis Obispo County Coroner’s Office has ruled the death of a man who witnesses said jumped off a downtown San Luis Obispo parking structure an accident. [Tribune]

Brian Lawler, 26, fell to his death from the city parking structure at the corner of Palm and Morro streets on July 18.

Witnesses said he appeared to have intentionally jumped, according to an initial San Luis Obispo police report.

However, the corner ruled the death an accident due to lack of evidence that Lawler committed suicide.

“The death cannot be ruled a suicide because there was no suicide note, there was no indication of suicide to family or friends and they can’t go on assumptions,” said Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla.

Lawler was a San Luis Obispo native, who dove collegiately at Boston University and UC Berkely. He was also a member of the 2002 U.S. Diving Junior World Team.


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In order to make our society safer I propose to make the legal height of buildings a maximum of 4 feet.

I have a son the same age. If it gives the family peace of mind and soul that their son’s death being ruled an accident, then so be it. It doesn’t matter how affluent the family are… they lost their son

Listen, this is San Luis County. People with connections can rock and shake the powers. Mr. Lawler comes from a family will respected in the community (Dr. Lawler) and therefore, undoubtedly, this went down exactly the way they wanted it to. His uncle had lunch with him hours before this happened and said he was not himself. Witnesses said he jumped. He had mental, emotional and substance problems. But in San Luis County the coroner states there is no evidence showing this was suicide. And by the way, under these conditions, how does anyone really know he didn’t leave a note and now, who cares.

Anyways, unfortunately, he’s died and dad and mom can be happy their little one is not another statistic in our happy town. Move on…

Okay there is clearly something fishy going on here. If you accidentally fall off of a city building and die…

can your family sue the city?

If possible, if I were the family, I’d request another autopsy be conducted by another pathologist…then we’ll talk about the cause of death.

That is a long jump but how can it be an accident? There was a woman who tried to jump over at other at the Marsh and Morro parking garage but she survived the fall but later committed suicide hanging herself. Suicide is terrible thing, when people get in the quick fix they want to end it but, they need to step back or something to get in their way to realize what they know what their doing is crazy and they step back and think how stupid this is. My friend committed suicide, I could of stopped it if I knew but I didn’t but I know people become fixated at first and if they see this isn’t worth, they will step back.

There’s a documentary called “The Bridge” filmed in 2007, it’s about people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, they caught 24 jumps on video in one year of shooting it on both sides of the bridge and they tried to stopped the jumpers but people would get out of a taxi’s in the middle of the bridge and get it over with before they have a second thought.

There needs to be more suicide prevention awareness in SLO, it’s something that can be prevented if people know people are in trouble but most times depression is hard to see in people.

Thanks a lot, Mr. Coroner. This allows the family to deny suicide (which they haven’t), collect life insurance on an accidental death (they probably don’t have an insurance policy), and sue the city (if they want and they probably won’t).

You don’t have to have a suicide note to declare a suicide. You know that. So, what is your problem? There were eye witnesses.

This opens the door to all kinds of problems in the future.

It is a little confusing since initial interviews of family members said Mr. Lawler had battled substance abuse issues and depression. His uncle also stated that Mr. Lawler “didn’t seem right” when they lunched that afternoon prior to his fall. Also, as you mentioned, there was at least one witness who said Mr. Lawler jumped and did not accidentally fall off the parking structure.

Don’t worry, they can sue the city either way – suicide or accident.

If suicide, the city was negligent because they didn’t do enough to keep determined people from committing suicide by diving off the top of the parking garage. The city SHOULD have build a cage on top of the roof so that no one can possibly jump from the roof.

If an accident, the city was negligent because the wall wasn’t high enough to keep stupid clumsy people from climbing on top of it, “accidentally” losing their balance and falling to their death.

In addition, the city failed to post appropriate signs every three feet around the perimeter of the parking garage roof that alternately said “WARNING: Climbing on top of this wall is dangerous and may be hazardous to your health” and “WARNING: Diving from the top of this parking garage may be hazardous to your health.” Oh, and the signs need to be in Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino and the 20 next most widely used languages in the county.

And as I’m sure the civil attorney will attest to, Mr. Lawler was fluent in at least 15 of those languages. Therefore, any payout to the family ought to be 15 fold.

Wow, what an anti-social and mean spirited comment. You wish the coroner would rule this as a suicide, based on conjecture and innuendo rather than solid facts, despite the major negative consequences that would have to this man’s estate, family, and legacy. Despite lots of gossip on this comment board, there is ZERO evidence that the family plans to sue the city. So exactly how does the coroner’s determination affect you?

Having the coroner rule on guesses and rumors rather than facts will open up the door to all kinds of problems.