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Man who threatened suicide upgraded to good condition

By Nathan Hardin and Shavonne Potts
nhardin@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — A Salisbury man who tried to kill himself at his South Ellis Street home last Friday has been upgraded to good condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
John Knox Bridges, 50, shot himself in the left torso with a shotgun Aug. 4 after a Salisbury Police officer shocked Bridges with a Taser in an attempt to incapacitate him.
Bridges was initially taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center, but was later taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and was in critical condition as of Aug. 6.
Authorities responded to Bridges’ home after he delivered a note to a neighbor. The neighbor became concerned Bridges would hurt himself and contacted Salisbury Police.
Bridges was accused of stealing money several years ago from the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation while he served as its vice president.
He was also accused of misusing $600,000 from the Minnesota-based Lindbergh Foundation while he was president of that organization.
He was fired from the Lindbergh Foundation and later asked to step down from the Transportation Museum foundation.
He was also accused in 2000 of pilfering more than $800,000 in proceeds that should have gone to North Carolina fresco artist Ben Long when he negotiated contracts for Long’s work beginning in early 2000.
Long sued Bridges in 2008 and Bridges settled for an undisclosed amount.
It was unclear if any of that played into the events at Bridges’ home on Aug. 4.
Around 10:30 a.m., officers arrived at Bridges’ home at 207 S. Ellis St. They found him armed with a shotgun, which he had turned toward himself.
A trained negotiator spoke with Bridges in his garage for about 30 minutes.
With both hands free of the shotgun, Bridges was smoking a cigarette in one hand and holding a bottle of water in the other.
An officer standing nearby used that opportunity to stun Bridges with a Taser.
But Bridges, sitting on the garage floor, was apparently not affected by the Taser’s barbs and pulled the trigger on the shotgun, which was on the ground next to him.
Police Chief Rory Collins said the officer acted appropriately and that if he hadn’t stunned Bridges, he might have succeeded in taking his own life.

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