San Juan Bautista Mayor Jim West’s death on Dec. 6 was determined to be a suicide, according to the Santa Clara Medical Examiner/Coroner’s Office.
BenitoLink received word Dec. 19 from a Santa Clara Coroner’s office official that West killed himself with a gun.
The San Benito County Sheriff's Office also confirmed their investigation determined the cause of death to be suicide.
Councilmember John Freeman issued a press release the day West died:
“The City of San Juan Bautista was very saddened today to learn of the passing of their mayor and beloved resident, the Honorable Jim West. Mayor West was a longtime resident of San Benito County and recently made San Juan Bautista his home, where he turned his attention and tireless, never-ending spirit of community involvement to helping the citizens of the Mission City and the local community.”
On Dec. 7, San Benito County Supervisor Anthony Botelho issued a statement on West’s death:
“On behalf of the Board of Supervisors of San Benito County, I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the Honorable Jim West, Mayor of San Juan Bautista. Mayor West was the consummate public servant who loved his city and the people he served. His dedication and leadership were an inspiration to others, including myself.
“Throughout his long and distinguished history of public service, Mayor West served on various committees that have resulted in positive change for not only the City of San Juan Bautista, but the County as a whole. Some of his contributions to the community included serving on the Fire Protection Advisory Committee, Intergovernmental Committee, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), and numerous other community charitable organizations.”
According to the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to West’s workplace, Graniterock, on Dec. 6 by an employee who reported West’s death.
Family members are planning a private interment at San Joaquin National Cemetery. A local celebration of life will be held at a date to be announced, according to the Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home.
Editor's note: Santa Clara Coroner's detailed description of cause of death was removed from this article because it was deemed unnecessary detail and potentially causing additional pain to Jim West's family and friends.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 831-636-8787
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