SANTA BARBARA — The man who stunned onlookers at the landmark Santa Barbara Superior Courthouse the morning of March 9 when he leaped to his death from the iconic clock tower has now been identified.
Lt. Paul McCaffrey, Santa Barbara Police Department spokesman, said Friday that Danny Lee McLaughlin, 44, was carrying identification with him when he jumped 85 feet from the tower to the stone pathway leading to the courthouse arch, a popular gathering spot for visiting tourists.
“He leaped to his death and was dead on the scene,” McCaffrey said when contacted for further details.
McCaffrey indicated that subsequent investigation revealed McLaughlin had been unemployed and was facing personal and financial problems and that “his family was not aware of any suicidal potential.”
The observation deck of the “El Mirador” courthouse clock tower is a popular tourist spot, providing panoramic views of Santa Barbara from the foothills to the harbor. According to McCaffrey, several tourists were on the observation deck and witnessed McLaughlin climb over the iron railing to position himself on the outside edge of the platform.
Witnesses immediately notified courthouse sheriff’s deputies who cordoned the area off and made tactical plans to contact McLaughlin. But as deputies were clearing the public away from the arch and patios below on the heavily-trafficked Anacapa Street side of the courthouse, McLaughlin jumped, landing only feet from a deputy conducting crowd control.
Horrified onlookers were immediately escorted off the premises while deputies made an unsuccessful attempt to resuscitate McLaughlin.