Jim Turner, a retired Marine colonel, took his life at the Bay Pines VA campus
Tampa Bay Times
By Howard Altman
Published 28 minutes ago
ST. PETERSBURG — On Dec. 10, retired Marine Col. Jim Turner put on his dress uniform and medals and drove to the Bay Pines Department of Veterans Affairs complex. He got out of his truck, sat down on top of his military records and took his own life with a rifle.
Aside from leaving behind grieving family and friends, Turner, 55, of Belleair Bluffs, left behind a suicide note that blasted the VA for what he said was its failure to help him.
"I bet if you look at the 22 suicides a day you will see VA screwed up in 90%," wrote Turner, who was well-known and well-respected in military circles. "I did 20+ years, had PTSD and still had to pay over $1,000 a month health care."
Captain Ryan Spangler (left) and Gunnery Sgt. Tousnel Renaud (right), with the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, United States Marine Corps Reserve in Tampa, fold one of the two American flags that are to be presented to the family at the end of the memorial service Friday afternoon, at the Serenity Funeral Home in Largo, for retired Marine Col. James "Jim" Turner IV, who took his life at Bay Pines Dec. 10. (DIRK SHADD | Times)
Vietnam War Navy veteran Jerry Reid, 67, may have driven to the VA to take his own life on Feb. 7, 2013, because he lived alone and didn’t want to have his body found weeks or months later, said his friend, Bob Marcus.
Joseph Jorden, 57, a medically retired Army Green Beret, likely took his life at Bay Pines on March 17, 2017, not because of poor treatment, but because he felt safe there, said his brother, Mark Jorden.
But Gerhard Reitmann, 66, who served with the Marines in Vietnam and later as a guard for President Richard Nixon at Camp David, “felt like the VA wasn’t really taking care of him” when he ended his life at Bay Pines on Aug. 25, 2015, said his brother, Stephan Reitmann.
The mother of Esteban Rosario, 24, who ended his life at Bay Pines on May 8, 2013, could not be reached for comment. read more here