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Date of Issue: August 13, 2008

Man commits suicide at Coquina Beach

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Emergency medical service technicians and lifeguards at Coquina Beach Aug. 5 worked unsuccessfully to revive Bridwell F. Tobin of Sarasota after the man shot himself with a small pistol. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

A Manatee County man committed suicide on Coquina Beach around 9:25 a.m., Aug. 5, near the trolley turnaround at the main concession stand, moments after stepping off the trolley to Longboat Key.

Bradenton Beach police said Bridwell F. Tobin, 79, of Sarasota, shot himself with a .38-caliber handgun after he first boarded the trolley, then told the driver he had changed his mind.

 Nearby lifeguards on duty at the beach immediately began life-saving operations on the man and Manatee County Emergency Medical Services arrived moments later to assist in the effort, but to no avail.

Police said Tobin drove his car to the beach and got on and off the trolley in a matter of seconds. Moments later, witnesses said they heard a shot and saw Tobin lying on the ground with a gun in his hand.

Joe Stankowski said he was on the beach near the concession stand when he heard a single shot shortly after the trolley had picked up passengers that morning.

“I looked over and saw the man on the ground and lifeguards running to him. I didn’t see anyone running away,” said Stankowski.

Rescue workers spent about 15 minutes with the man and applied a defibrillator in an effort to restart his heart and breathing, but were unsuccessful.

“They really tried to save him,” Stankowski said.

Police said Tobin left behind a suicide note addressed to his wife and that he had a history of medical issues.