Man Jumps to his Death at Powell and Market

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News

Published on February 17, 2010 with 57 Comments

An SFPD officer points to a 4th-floor loft apartment located at Market and Powell streets
from where a man dressed in blue shorts leapt to his death yesterday.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

February 17, 2010

A man dressed in blue shorts committed suicide yesterday when he jumped from the top floor of a 4-story building above Forever 21 located at Powell and Market streets.

According to police, the man leapt to his death from a loft apartment at approximately 3:25 pm in full view of shoppers and tourists lined up to take the Powell Street cable car.

A specially trained police negotiator arrived on scene at approximately 3:15 pm but was unable to effectuate a rescue – the man had locked the door from the inside to the apartment.

Several witnesses said some bystanders were calling from the street to urge the man to jump.

“Some people in the back were yelling at him to jump,” said eyewitness Nick LaMonica. “They just said it once – it wasn’t like people were chanting it or anything.”

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Comments for Man Jumps to his Death at Powell and Market are now closed.

  1. We were dismissed in a unanimous, unpublished opinion (3-0) in the First District Court of Appeal, Division 5, San Francisco, on 8-28-15 after a 10-minute Oral Argument hearing on 8-20-15. We filed our Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court on 10-1-15. Many thanks to those who have extended their condolences, support, and encouragement during this difficult case. I am still EXPECTING justice and hope you are, too.

  2. Oral Arguments for “Kathie Yount et al v. City and County of San Francisco et al” will be heard August 20, 2015, in the First District Court of Appeal, 350 McAllister Street, San Francisco, at 11:00 a.m. regarding the 2-16-10 suicide baiting death of Dylan Yount at the Forever 21 building in Hallidie Plaza, Powell and Market Streets, San Francisco. No room designation has been assigned at this time.

  3. If the San Francisco police show up on the suicide scene, their lawyers say all they have to do is watch. Are they right? We are getting closer and closer to an answer. “For SFPD-sponsored suicide baiting, the appellant’s opening brief is a set of nesting dolls” at

  4. We cannot say that we will refuse to tolerate outrageous or racist cops if we expect the cops to tolerate our retaliatory lawlessness in the streets. My 29th column about the suicide baiting death of Dylan Yount in Hallidie Plaza, San Francisco, 2-16-10, “A tale of two cities: Ferguson and San Francisco” at

  5. My newest column is “Play is relative: Cat baseball in Missouri and Rome in San Francisco” at

  6. I have learned firsthand why so many Americans dislike our judges and police. Courts ENABLE bad policing. “Do San Francisco police really have no duty to enforce laws or make arrests?” at

  7. We have lost our bid to be heard in a jury trial in Superior Court and are taking our case to the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Two new columns explain where we are in the litigation process. “Superior Court and SFPD label felons ‘hecklers’ at
    and “Law and the semantics of suicide baiting in San Francisco” at

  8. “SFPD takes four years to prepare defense for 2010 suicide baiting” at

  9. “The SFPD: Still fighting the art of de-escalation” is at

  10. We have a trial date–July 28, 2014, the Honorable Cynthia Ming-mei presiding! My newest column is “7734: Are police in San Francisco public servants?” At

  11. “Will San Francisco become the first city to uphold suicide baiting?” is posted at

  12. “SFPD message to 2010 suicide baiting crowd: Your target deserves to be hurt” is posted at

  13. “San Francisco police: worse than irrelevant” is posted at

  14. Dylan Yount’s suicide baiting was on the 2nd day of the 16th Random Acts of Kindness Week 2010 on 2-16-10 at the Forever 21 building on Powell and Market, but Dylan would know no kindness. His story is “Suicide baiting: no kindness in the Age of Anonymous Cruelty” at

  15. “Suicide baiting is a hate crime” about Dylan Yount’s death is posted at

  16. “A comic strip testimony of a suicide baiting” is also about the death of Dylan Yount in Hallidie Plaza, San Francisco, 2-16-10.

  17. THE TWILIGHT ZONE OF HUMANITY IN A SUICIDE BAITING is posted at Nick Fisher’s Flickr page, “Man Jumps at Powell and Market,” at

  18. From the world of classical Rome to the skyscrapers of San Francisco, beauty often contradicts reality. The iconic Colosseum was the emblematic symbol of decadent Rome; the beaux-arts Forever 21 building, lovely. Yet the Colosseum was the horrific site of state-sanctioned death “games.” Will we tolerate Hallidie Plaza, San Francisco, serving as an emblematic symbol for modern death games?

    The Colosseum seated 50,000 for regular attendance to witness the brutal deaths of mostly anonymous souls who died as entertainment. Hallidie Plaza had a spontaneous crowd of 1,000 to witness a suicide baiting of another anonymous victim in a modern death game.

    “Rome, It Was, for the Depraved and Keyboard Crusaders Alike” is posted at Suicide Baiting Prevention at

  19. “Suicide baiting — they cheered while my son jumped” is posted at iPinion Syndicate at

  20. Tuesday’s 4-23-13 poem, “Another Tuesday in America,” is posted on the Suicide Baiting Prevention page at

  21. Tuesday’s 4-16-13 poem “Watching What Hate Can Do” and a note about the status of Yount v City and County of San Francisco are posted on the Suicide Baiting Prevention page at

  22. “For SF WEEKLY’s Albert Samaha”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide baiting prevention activist
    is posted at

  23. “On What Would Have Been His Thirty-sixth Birthday”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide baiting prevention activist
    is posted at Suicide Baiting Prevention

  24. “To the Only Cops in America Trying to Legalize Suicide Baiting”
    is posted at

  25. “San Francisco Suicide Baiting Victim, What Have We Become?” By Kathie Yount, suicide baiting prevention activist is posted at “Suicide at Forever 21” at

  26. Tomorrow will be the third anniversary of Dylan Yount’s suicide baiting death in Hallidie Plaza, San Francisco, 2-16-10. We have opened a page to help prevent this brutality from ever happening to anyone else again. Please support suicide baiting prevention at

  27. I just posted my Tuesday poem “An Anonymous Suicide Baiting Death”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide baiting prevention activist

  28. For those interested in preventing suicide baiting, a new FB page was opened this morning to raise awareness.  It is located at

  29. Another amazing piece about Dylan’s suicide baiting death was published this morning (1-7-13).  Like Albert Samaha, this author also ties together both past and present response to his death to show us how suicide baiting can be prevented.  It is posted at

  30. There is a new SF Weekly article about Dylan:  “Public Influence:  The Immortalization of an Anonymous Death” by Albert Samaha posted at

  31. You can still get all the old comments by clicking show “oldest first.”
    “A Student Sends a Petition New Year’s Day 2013”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide baiting prevention activist
    is posted on Beto’s Flickr page

  32. “Christmas Charity for 2012”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide baiting prevention activist
    is posted at

  33. “What Has Not Changed, WILL”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide baiting prevention activist
    is posted at

  34. “Someone’s Last Chance”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide prevention activist
    is posted at Nick Fisher’s Flickr site:

  35. “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide prevention activist
    on the occasion of my sixty-fifth birthday

    is posted at

  36. “Philippic for The San Francisco Fallen Angel of Suicide Prevention”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide prevention activist

  37. Two new poems
    “For the Suicide Survivors, Especially c. and beeecckkkyyy”
    and “What Goes Around Comes Around”

    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide prevention activist are posed on Beto Mooncricket Lopez’s Flickr site:

  38. “The Man with a Megaphone”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide prevention activist
    is posted on artyflipy’s Flickr site, “Tender Square Gathering” at

  39. “The Culling”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide prevention activist
    is posted at Nick Fisher’s Flickr site, “Man Jumps at Powell and Market” at

  40. 939TH day following my son’s suicide baiting.

  41. Sorry for the mistake below.  My poor math skills are legendary!  

    The Mixed Martial Arts Underground Forum was posted on 9-3-12 all right, but that date would reflect Dylan’s suicide baiting death NIne hundred twenty-NINE days ago.  Today, 9-13-12, marks the 939rd day after.  

    The idea that some would take national pride in suicide baiting while police just look on was the point I was trying to make.  The MMA Forum, by the way, includes a video of the NYC incident that caused the writer to think of suicide baiting in relation to police not intervening. 

  42. In a forum about NYC police ignoring a street fight, one poster brags that 50% of an Australian crowd would have intervened.  Then this tragic boast:  “In Australia, do they chant ‘jump’ when people look to commit suicide from the top of buildings?  I didn’t think so!  America, # 1!!!”  The Australian then asks, “Is that for real?  People do that??”   

    The responder offers the Instablog link “San Francisco crowd encouraged suicide victim to jump then laughed” (link in forum)  plus two others.  He said he found 3 examples on Google in less than a minute. The 9-3-12 forum date is 939 days after Dylan’s death.  Link: sad that some take national pride in state-sanctioned suicide baiting.  

  43. “My Lying Eyes”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide prevention activist

    is posted at “Crowd Cell Phones” at

  44. “Who Will Answer?”
    By Kathie Yount,
    suicide prevention activist

    is written in comment # 46 on “How Could This Happen?  San Francisco Powell Street Jumper RIP Dylan God Bless,” located at this URL address:

  45. “To the City Where My Son Was Disrespected” By Kathie Yount, suicide prevention activist             

    Poem posted at                                                                                                                    

  46. Sorry about the poem below.  The comment system would not allow the line arrangement I wanted and ran words together when I posted it.  It doesn’t change my meaning, but it does make the poem difficult to read.  I do not know how to delete it either, but I will post this poem on Beto Mooncricket Lopez’s Flickr page, “How could this happen? San Francisco Powell Street Jumper, R.I.P. Dylan God Bless.”

    I am Dylan Yount’s mother, and I am finding my voice.

  47. “Fog” 
    By Kathie Yount, 
    suicide prevention activist”‘Some people in back were yelling at him to jump,’ said eyewitness Nick LaMonica. ‘They just said it once – it wasn’t like people were chanting it or anything,'” Fog City Journal reporter Luke Thomas shares in “Man Jumps to His Death at Powell and Market.”The remark, mathematically impossible, obfuscates like thick fog, confounding its own semantics:  since “some” and “they” are plural, the man experiencing a medical emergency at Hallidie Plaza on 2-16-10 clearly heard “Jump!” more than one time before he left his narrow ledge above Forever 21 unless “some” or “they” yelled in union.More observant might be TOPTOM, a witness and second poster at that same Fog City Journal site.  He proffers his pics with this caveat, “This should show you how the crowd was…look at these pics taken by a bystander,” the pics long since flagged from mainstream sources by those outraged at such cruelty.Yet, deeply embedded within the internet bowels,the insidious picsphotoshopped together as a comicremain.The comic has a secretvisceral existence of its own.It is louder, more audiblethan words,and it cutsthrough fogwith the precision ofan atmospheric exacto knife.There are tapes, too,that provewhat he heard.

  48. I could not agree with you more if that were, indeed, the crossroads where we stand in this discussion. But it isn’t. This is not about power or politics. This is merely is a society self regulating- asking itself, as all societies should- is this the direction we really want to go?

    We are citizens talking to each other about the humanity, validity and value of an act vs the desire (and obligation) of the press to tell a story. That’s all. And I believe it is not only healthy, but warranted in this case.

    I appreciate your thoughtful responses, but I simply feel like you’re addressing another topic. At any rate- thanks for the discourse.

  49. dmh – The issue is neither war nor suicide but the need for caution when you attempt to chastise the press into not publishing something based on a definition that can (and will) be used as a reason not to publish something else the politically powerful or corrupt do not want you to see.

  50. Hope, I think it is you who may have missed the point. This comes down to the concept of truth in reporting, not the ‘vague definition of sensitivity’. What in this story is news? And where is the line that crosses from solid, honest reporting into the unnecessary and possibly exploitive?

    It could be argued that the story here is that a man jumped from a building in a high profile location. Also that there was a shocking response from some in the crowd. Reading the story will be awful for anyone who knew this man. The second part of this story is going to be particularly painful as they imagine their loved one’s final moments. But I would agree that it warrants reporting as it reflects an ugly mirror on a part of our society that either had an inappropriate mob-fueled response, or is completely soul-less.

    This story could still be told with only the last of these four pictures. Did we really need 3 images of the body (even covered)? Is this not contributing to the callousness that caused the behavior at the scene?

    Luke’s response to wfwilsonsf was honest and directly addressed the issues. It can not be easy to be a reporter in these times. I was there and can also tell you that there are things that Luke refrained from mentioning that shows discretion.

    This has nothing to do with war or censorship.

  51. Censorship for sensitivity purposes is, indeed, a difficult decision for journalists.

    A significant factor in the decision is defining “sensitive” and recognizing motives for the chosen definition. For example, wfwillsonsf’s argument that photos and articles on suicides is insensitive makes the assumption all families of suicide deaths do not know why their loved one took his or her own life. Not so. Someone close to my family died by suicide. We were sad but no one wondered why. He had many drug problems and had attempted suicide before.

    The point is not whether photos or words about the scene are insensitive. The point is that the definition of “sensitive” is vague and the motive arbitrary, leaving it open to dangerous interpretation and uses. While wfwillsonsf’s motivation seems noble, his definition of “sensitive” does include his own assumptions. The danger is we do not know how someone else with more power to shut down the media will choose to define “sensitive” or whether that definition will be chosen for a noble or manipulative cause.

    President Bush’s spokesperson did state the motivation for not allowing photos of military coffins was that “the sensitivity and privacy of families of the fallen must be the first priority.” But we are all also aware that those photos may have changed the public’s support for the undeclared war, not something Bush wanted.

    The price of a free society is we will disagree on what is fit to print. The benefit is the info is available and the reader is free to avert his or her eyes.

  52. wfwilsonsf, thank you for your thoughtful post. I initially struggled with the thought of posting these pics, but ultimately did so because I hoped the pics will act, however small, as a deterrent to anyone considering suicide.

    The issue also raises the question about censorship, but on balance I agree that the pics may unnecessarily cause a suicide decedent’s family undue pain – and I apologize for that.

    I will certainly keep the points you have made in mind should I be confronted with the same censorship vs. sensitivity dilemma.

  53. Luke,
    I don’t know whether you missed Karen B’s point or are deliberately trying to divert attention with your answer. Unless you are trying to argue that joining the military is suicide the situations are no way analogous. I think the point Karen was trying to make, and one I agree with is that if someone you know or loved has committed suicide then you view these incidents with something more than the “objectivity” of a journalist. Your argument that the photos only show a tarp or a body bag are insensitive at best and seem rather cruel. I know, as Karen understands and I hope you as journalist might come to understand that this person has a family that will for the rest of their life be left with an empty void and a question that will never be answered, “Why?”
    Before I am accused of censorship let me ask one simple question, when you decide to run a story on a suicide instead of a MUNI accident, are you censoring MUNI? I don’t think so I think you are using your editorial judgment about what news to cover. Do the photos of the body bag and the tarp add more to the story than the hurt and pain they cause? We might never answer that question in the same way, but I hope that you at least consider the question.
    Yes, I speak from personal experience. Almost twenty five years ago my older brother took his own life. An editor of the local paper saw fit to put on the front page not only the method my brother used but the exact location where it took place. In a discussion I had with the editor she echoed the same kind of denial. When I said that police had pictures because they made my sister-in-law wait for two hours before they moved the body, the editor expressed shock that I would think that they would use a picture. I explained that a picture wouldn’t have done any more damage than the sentence, “He hung himself from the third rafter in the barn on his farm.”
    I say to you Luke, the same thing I said to that editor.There is no way to undo the damage already done. All I can ask is if you are put in the same situation again, you give consideration to the fact that you are causing pain.

  54. Karen B, there are no photos of the body, but one can assume there’s a body inside the body bag or beneath the yellow tarp.

    Your question brings up the debate about photos of military services personnel returning to the US in coffins and body bags. Should these photos also be censored?

  55. I know it’s news, but are photos of the body really necessary? I once saw a friend in a body bag on the news and have never quite felt the same about the issue since. If I was that disgusted/saddened/appalled, I can’t imagine how her family felt or how this guy’s family might feel.

  56. This should show you how the crowd was… look at these pics taken by bystander:

  57. Bystanders calling to urge the man to jump; one of them may as well pulled a trigger.

    What makes people behave like this?

    The world in general seems to grow ever more vulgar and heartless, and San Francisco along with it.

    Why is this so?