Richard Sherman was ‘suicidal’ before crash, arrest, according to 911 calls from family

SEATTLE — A series of 911 calls to King County dispatchers from the wife of former Seahawk Richard Sherman paint a clear picture of a spouse begging for an intervention before her husband — who she explained was experiencing a severe mental crisis — could get behind the wheel and possibly hurt himself or someone else.

Audio of the 911 call was first reported by KIRO Radio.

Family members could be heard telling dispatchers Sherman was suicidal Tuesday night, drinking heavily and acting “belligerent.”

Sherman was jailed without bail on Wednesday after police said he crashed his car in an active highway construction site on state Route 520 after driving through a closed lane, left the accident scene, tried to break into the home of his in-laws and fought police when they tried to apprehend him.

According to investigators, the first 911 call came after 1 a.m. Wednesday from a construction worker in Redmond on state Route 520 near the 148th Street exit, reporting Sherman was driving his car through a closed lane.

On Wednesday evening, Trooper Rick Johnson tweeted photos of the car involved in the crash.

Troopers found Sherman’s car parked in a nearby lot with severe damage to the driver’s side and a tire missing. Investigators believe Sherman walked 3 miles to the home, where his mother, father and in-laws live. A 911 call from that residence reported Sherman tried to break down the door.

“There was verbal altercation between the occupants of the residence and Mr. Sherman prior to the arrival of the police,” said Capt. Ron Mead with the Washington State Patrol.

Police said Sherman was heard joking with arriving officers at first, but he fought with them when they told him he was under arrest. A police dog was released, and Sherman was treated for bite wounds after he was handcuffed.

About an hour before Sherman’s arrest, his wife Ashley Sherman called from their Maple Valley home, saying he was drunk, belligerent and suicidal.

Ashley Sherman and her uncle are heard urgently asking for police help, saying Richard Sherman was threatening to hurt himself.

“He’s trying to leave now. In the house, he’s being aggressive,” said Ashley Sherman to dispatchers. “He’s wrestling with my uncle. He’s threatening to kill himself. He sent text messages to friends saying he was going to hang himself.”

In a police report obtained by the The Associated Press, Sherman’s father-in-law, Raymond Moss, armed himself with a handgun and pepper-sprayed Sherman to protect his family.

Moss said, according to the police report, that Sherman partially broke in the door by ramming it with his shoulder, while calling out, “Come through, Ray!” in a threatening manner.

“The family began to yell in fear,” Moss told police, according to the report. “I used pepper spray on Sherman’s face through the partially opened door as he was still banging and attempting to gain entry. I told him to stop. I armed myself with my handgun at this time fearing for the safety of myself and my family.”

In the 911 call recordings, Ashley Sherman is heard urging her husband not to leave, telling dispatchers he was a danger to himself.

>>Operator who answered first Richard Sherman 911 call facing scrutiny

It was then that she asked dispatchers to intercept Richard Sherman’s car before he got to Redmond.

Later, a man described as Ashley Sherman’s uncle called 911, telling police Richard Sherman cut his wife’s car off in traffic as she was following him in her car.

“The wife is trying to leave,” he said in the 911 recording. “He’s following her. He’s intoxicated. He’s driving, and I’m following them to make sure she’s safe.”

He also told dispatchers that Richard Sherman was making threats of violence to his wife.

“He told her if the kids aren’t in the car, he was going to hurt her,” the uncle said.

His attorney spoke on Thursday as he tried to get Sherman released from the King County Jail.

“We’re investigating the circumstances related to these allegations by the state. Richard is thankful to the have support of his family and friends, and we look forward to vigorously defending this case in court,” said defense attorney Cooper Offenbecher.

Sherman was released from jail around 5:40 p.m. Thursday. He has no criminal history.

He is charged with driving under the influence, reckless endangerment of roadway workers, second-degree criminal trespass – domestic violence, resisting arrest and third-degree malicious mischief – domestic violence.

>>A look at Richard Sherman’s ‘Extreme Risk Protection Order’

He’s slated to have a court hearing Friday afternoon.

On Friday morning, Sherman released the following statement on Twitter:

According to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, this isn’t the first time Sherman posed a risk to himself or others.

In February, an Extreme Risk Protection Order was filed against him with the King County Sheriff’s Office. The order barred him from having a firearm.