Tulalip man kills self in police custody

A Tulalip man took his own life early Saturday in the lock-up room of the Tulalip Police Department, said Mike Taylor, an attorney for the Tulalip Tribes.

James Bumgarner, 40, a Tulalip tribal member, was arrested Friday night by Tulalip police on charges of domestic violence, Taylor said. He had been in the Tulalip lock-up for about an hour when police found him dead.

The lock-up, a room in the police department, does not resemble a jail cell, Taylor said.

Taylor did not discuss details of the death. He said a significant portion of the incident was captured on the room’s surveillance videotape but did not state the exact manner in which Bumgarner died.

Bumgarner’s death was caused by hanging, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

It was not Bumgarner’s first arrest, Taylor said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was called and arrived at the police department shortly after the body was discovered, Taylor said. That agency is leading an investigation into the death, he said.

Scott Smith, the newly hired Tulalip police chief, also worked on the case, even though he won’t officially start in the Tulalip position until Jan. 2.

Smith will continue as chief of the Mountlake Terrace Police Department until Dec. 31.

The Tulalip Police Department has been in operation for about six years, Taylor said. This is the first time someone has died in the lock-up, he said.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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