WECT Investigates: Deceased inmate attempted suicide days earlier in New Hanover jail

WECT Investigates: Deceased inmate attempted suicide days earlier in New Hanover jail

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The inmate suspected of killing himself in a state prison in Raleigh this week was also involved in an apparent suicide attempt only days earlier in New Hanover County, according to documents obtained by WECT investigators.

Michael Rollins, 36, was found unresponsive in a shower at Central Prison by a nurse Saturday, February 11. He was taken to WakeMed, where he was pronounced dead Sunday. A news release from the state indicated this was an apparent suicide attempt, but the State Capitol Police and Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification are investigating.

Rollins arrived at Central Prison one week earlier on February 4. Rollins was booked on four counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia on January 31 in New Hanover County.  He was accused of robbing the NewBridge bank twice in January, along with Tidal Market and Little Caesars. 

Documents indicate that on February 1, the day after his arrest, Rollins was discovered by a detention officer while attempting to hang himself in the New Hanover County Detention Facility using a torn bed sheet. The paperwork states that Rollins showed no signs of being suicidal during intake or while in custody over the last day. He was unconscious but breathing at the time of discovery.

Officers revived Rollins and he went to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Documents indicate he was combative, aggressive and uncooperative with authorities after being revived.

It is unclear what type of oversight Rollins had while in the Central Prison.

Keith Acree, the communications officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, said they can not discuss the specifics of an individual inmate's health record. However, Acree said in general when an inmate is received from a county jail and there is a concern about self-harm, mental health staff will assess the inmate and develop a care plan for that inmate.

State Capitol Police Chief Glen Allen says they are waiting for results from the state medical examiner's office as part of their investigation. Allen says their investigation would center on the incident and not the type of surveillance Rollins had while in the prison.

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