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article imageFirst BP suicide? Gulf boat captain shoots himself on boat's deck

By Laura Trowbridge     Jun 24, 2010 in Lifestyle
A Gulf of Mexico charter boat captain from Alabama committed suicide yesterday after he allegedly became too upset over the BP oil spill ruining the charter boat business.
As reported by Daily Mail, William Allen 'Rookie' Kruse, 55, shot himself in the head yesterday while standing on the captain's bridge of his boat in Fort Morgan, Alabama.
Two weeks ago, BP hired Kruse to help in the clean-up efforts of the Gulf oil spill after that spill closed his fishing grounds and ruined his charter business of over 20 years.
He was due to launch his boat again yesterday for another day of skimming oil in his new clean-up job, but he first sent his deckhands off the boat on an errand.
Baldwin County Deputy Coroner Rod Steade said: "He was going to meet them at the fuel dock. They heard a pop and when the boat didn't come around, they went back and found him."
Coroner Stan Vinson said witnesses claimed that Kruse had been distraught over the oil spill. Kruse left no suicide note as to why he took his life though.
Vinson said: "Witnesses told investigators that Kruse had been upset about the loss of business caused by the closing of fishing grounds and public perceptions of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."
The coroner added: "All the waters are closed. There's no charter business anymore. You go out on some of the beaches now, with the oil, you can't even get in the water. It's really crippled the tourism and fishing industry here."
Tom Ard, president of the Orange Beach Fishing Association and Kruse's fellow fisherman for the past 25 years, told AOL News: "There's not a doubt in my mind, the oil spill was the cause of this. It was just too much for him."
Ard said Kruse was in the prime of his life when he killed himself, and he had been taking his 13-year-old son out on his charter boat to teach him how to fish.
"He had everything going for him. He was at the top of his game," Ard said. "He was the kind of guy that made everyone smile, and he was one heck of a fisherman."
Kruse's co-captain Jason Bell said: "He didn't show any signs he was going to do this that would have thrown up any red flags where you'd think you better keep an eye on him.
"He wasn't any more aggravated with the whole situation than any of the rest of us. I hate to say it, but I'm surprised something like this hasn't already happened."
A 27-year-old deckhand who was working for Kruse spoke anonymously to The Washington Post: "We're helping cover up the lie. We're burying ourselves. We're helping them cover up the [expletive] that's putting us out of work.
"It's just setting in with 'em, you know; reality's kicking in. And there's a lot of people that aren't as happy as they used to be."
Social service providers are seeing a rise in mental health crises around the Gulf area.
"We're seeing already an increase in suspiciousness, arguing, domestic violence... We're already having reports of increased drinking, anxiety, anger and avoidance," reported Howard Osofsky of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans during a two-day hearing this week.
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