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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1. Aired 9-10:00p ET.

Aired March 31, 2015 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN LEAD POLITICAL ANCHOR: HBO "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1," starts now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, also serving the Veterans Crisis line. If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis we're here to help. If you're a U.S. military veteran or current service member or calling about a loved one, please press one now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you calling the Veteran Crisis line. My name is Luis how can I help you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Scott (ph), with the Veteran Crisis line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Veteran Crisis line, this is Robert.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, now I know that you said that your knife's nearby you. Do you agree to not use that knife while I put you on hold?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens when you start saying I'm going to take that 22 and put it through my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So one option is driving your car into the tree that you told me that's not an option you're going to take today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But putting a gun in your mouth is not a solution that we want to discuss today sir, so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That you've been dealing with this for a long time today, you are seating in your car wrapped with the -- of the belt around our neck since 8:00 a.m. wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, the last thing did he say in the e-mail, did you say that he is thinking about killing other people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really proud of you...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) you stay sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So in twice you try behave yourself before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want me to send someone there for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Veteran Crisis line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get into while you (inaudible) have to do...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you diagnosed with PTSD?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there's anything that we can do for you later tonight, I mean anytime we're here around the clock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where perhaps in military where you in? Air force.

DARLENE: So you're saying that -- what you're telling me is that people have to do something drastic before they get help? That's what you're saying? I understand that you're in a lot of pain, that you're hurting. I understand that you can't work. I understand you're having flashbacks. I understand that you having repetitive dreams, night sweats. That's a lot of stress for one person. You want to be able to help your family. Do you have any weapons in the house beside yourself? Because I know that you told me you your own weapon?

No, Kenneth (ph) you can't post this chapter. I'm not going to leave you, I'm not going to anywhere. I'm going to stay right with you. If you cannot -- if you can't tell me that you're thinking of suicide, I will send an ambulance and a police officer and I will do a rescue.

You're not telling me that you're going to be OK. Can you safety plan with me? No, I can't do that. I'm sorry. You have five children, you have a wife and you have a lot to life for so I just have to follow you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is 46 years old African-American. He refused to answer any safety question. He just state that he was his own weapon, he is a former marine, he might put a fight.

DARLENE: OK, what's that? You're going to go to your closet? In the closet on the floor. Tell me what's going on. Let's go slow. Can you talk to me about the images in the dark?

[21:05:06] Bodies are in the water. So the bodies are faced down in the water. You can't help the bodies. There's too many. You know, it doesn't mean that you failed. Kenneth, Kenneth let's slow down, OK. Kenneth, did you do anything?

Why are you breathing so heavy right now? Kenneth, what are you about to do, what's going on? You need to take care of your kids, Kenneth. You're their father. You're their dad, OK. No one replace you, OKAY? No one can replace you. You're their father. You're going to be the one that they look for. I can't take care of your kids. I'm not a marine.

Their dad is a marine, you know, what that means to them. Give me that chance to help you. What that noise in the background? You don't want to let me to talk to her?

OK. Hello, Mia (ph), this is Darlene, calling from the Veterans Crisis line. I was talking with your husband Kenneth. He was not able to report to me that he was going to remain safe. We're sending the police to talk with him. It's a called welfare check. I've been on the phone with him for over an hour or so. Are there police there yet? Ma'am? Hello. She hang up.

That police are on scene. She said there where on scene but I didn't hear them. I don't know if they're. But she hang up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On scene, OK, great. Thank you so much. They're there.

DARLENE: They're there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

DARLENE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No problem.

DARLENE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you OK?

DARLENE: That's a long very hard one, you know. Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can hug with you (inaudible) tonight.

DARLENE: Thank you very much honey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old this guy?

DARLENE: He's 46.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jesus.

DARLENE: He's got five children. He was in Afghanistan, all right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that we he was, yeah.

DARLENE: Yes, he was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that was some of the worse fighting when they started in Afghanistan.

DARLENE: Well he kept talking about bodies floating in the water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had just had a call with the guy just left talking with me and was back in Lebanon and they couldn't get hold the communication or call anybody or help anybody and then with dead bodies and bleeding people and, you know. And I said -- I kept saying to him, "You're here. You're on the phone with me. It's all right. Keep talking. You're on the phone with me now." And at the end of the conversation he thank me for grounding him.

You did you're work, you did good.

DARLENE: Yeah. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you remember what you said when you started here?

DARLENE: I would.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you member? I don't know if I'm going to be able to do this. (inaudible).

DARLENE: Yes. It's (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, yeah I do. Yeah.

ROBERT GRIFFO: We got a veteran who's in the process of possibly going into the process of cutting himself with a razor to bleed out commit suicide.

BARBARA: There's no shame in asking for help. Would you be willing to take those razor blades and just send them out on your front porch? Wait a second, who's there? OK, is it the police?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARBARA: Bob, can you grab that off the printer and get to HSS? How do you spell your last name? He is one these guys, yeah. He is in preparatory stages.

ROBERT GRIFFO: Yes. Sanchez (ph), this is Robert calling you from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the federal government's veteran's crisis line. We got a veteran who is in the process of possibly going into the process of cutting himself with the razor to bleed out and commit suicide.

BARBARA: You cut yourself to where you're bleeding out? That's permanent. That's -- the kids can't see you anymore.

ROBERT GRIFFO: He is struggling with some PTSD episodes at this point.

BARBARA: So how many years have been suffering with the PTSD and the nightmares?

ROBERT GRIFFO: We're going to stay on the line with him, hopefully until you can get out there. Barbara, I'm getting an NIN (ph).

BARBARA: I've heard lots of people cry. And you know what? Sometimes, tears are characteristic you need to let out some stuff. I mean, I know that you're having seeing this guy get shot on the face was really an awful thing but sometime, it wasn't your fault and I feel like you are blaming yourself somehow.

ROBERT GRIFFO: I got two cars and an ambulance in the route.

BARBARA: So when you say that you're talking about an enemy combatant that you killed...

ROBERT GRIFFO: Barbara, I am -- we're waiting on the police because the police have to go and make sure that it's safe for EMS to go in, because he threatened to cut himself open with a razor blade. And that alone will stop EMS from going in on their own. They have to wait for the police.

This is the difficult part, waiting for the police to get there, hoping that he doesn't do something.

BARBARA: Did ever know anybody else in your unit died of suicide?

ROBERT GRIFFO: They should be there any second now.

BARBARA: He hanged up on me.

ROBERT GRIFFO: OK. And that might be because he heard something.

BARBARA: No, he is crying. He is exhausted.

ROBERT GRIFFO: Even on a routine call, we shouldn't wait this long.

BARBARA: I'm going to try to call him back.

ROBERT GRIFFO: I'm going to call the police back.

BARBARA: Bryan (ph)? OK.

[21:15:00] ROBERT GRIFFO: Hey, Sanchez (ph), it's Robert again...

Any chance we know where the police might be at this point and I called in about 1:15 (inaudible).

BARBARA: OK. There we go. Did you take some pills?

ROBERT GRIFFO: We're trying to really keep him on the line until you guys get on the scene. Thank you so much. Bye now.

BARBARA: The biggest problem is struggling with your PTSD and how it's affecting you daily and how it's affecting your family? You're just so lost inside your PTSD.

ROBERT GRIFFO: She's (inaudible) down.

BARBARA: There is no shame in asking for help. Would you be willing to take those razor blades and just set them out on your front porch?

ROBERT GRIFFO: Oh come on.

BARBARA: What's that?

ROBERT GRIFFO: This is ridiculous.

BARBARA: Bryan (ph)?

ROBERT GRIFFO: That's ridiculous. It's almost 30 minutes.

BARBARA: Wait a second, who is there? Is it your drug? OK. Is it the police? ROBERT GRIFFO: Veterans Crisis line, this is Robert.

BARBARA: We called the ambulance. The police you have to go because of the blades.

ROBERT GRIFFO: All right hold on a second. I think they might have answered. He might have answered the door. So just hang on. Barbara, did he speak to? No, he won't answer the door.

BARBARA: Would you please open the door for them? OK. See, I told you.

ROBERT GRIFFO: Can you see on the porch, the first responders is on the porch.

BARBARA: Is there somebody standing right there talking to you?

ROBERT GRIFFO: He is telling my respond, he put the razor blade out on the front porch.

BARBARA: He is talking to them. He finally opened the door but somebody hang up on me.

ROBERT GRIFFO: He opened the door Sergeant. Somebody is there, Barb (ph).

BARBARA: Officer Broody (ph)? Hi, this is Barbara from the Veterans Crisis line.

ROBERT GRIFFO: All right, Barb, we got him. We got him Sergeant. Thank you so much for helping us Sergeant. Take good care.

BARBARA: OK. He is -- He was -- He's had a (inaudible) of vodka and he also do the heroine, cocaine and marijuana last night with it.

Yeah, he's been having really bad problems with PTSD nightmares and he was planning to bleed out.

ROBERT GRIFFO: I've been involved in rescues where we're lost the vet, where he has committed suicide. We go to the whole range of emotions, at least I do I get angry, I get very sad. I start to question whether I didn't good enough job that I though could I have found him faster.

Was I doing all the things that I was taught to do? Did I make any mistakes? And how dare you take your life? All those things go through my mind. But then my supervisor will usually come up and talk, the responder and I will talk and then we get back to work.

We get back to work as fast as we can. We got other vets to work with.

MAUREEN MCHENRY: How are doing Michael (ph)? You're 20? Let made you go into the marine Corp? What's clicking I hear in the background? You're playing with a clip? OK.

Do you have the gun right there with you too?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCHENRY: It's ultimately the veteran's decision if they are going to live or die. It's literally in their hands. And as a responder, you have to have a really good grasp of that.

You can help him find reasons for living, reasons to not do it. But the decision is theirs.

How old are you, Michael (ph)? You're 20? What make you going to the Marine Corp? What's that clicking I hear in the background? You're playing with the clip? OK. Do you have the gun right there with you, too?

OK. I get that. If you feel, you know, if that gives you some security to have the clip in your hand and you want to toss it around, I'm OK with that but if you could agree to not use it while we're on the phone, that would make me feel comfortable. Can we agree to that? OK. Thank you.

So you come from a military family? Eight months ago, you got wounded. OK. All right. And you said that you got a Purple Heart? OK. And the battle that you go wounded in, was that over in Afghanistan as well? And you lost some friends during that. Joseph (ph)?

So you grew up together and then your lives kind of wondered separate ways and you came back together? He was 21? So you watched him die? Did he know that you are holding him when he died? Was he alert enough to know that?

Does that bring you any type of comfort to know that you are able to be there with him when he died? Tell me what he'd be thinking right now if he knew what you are going through? If he knew that you are contemplating suicide?

He'd kick your ass. OK. So sounds like he is a good friend. Do you think that you'd be able to get yourself some help for him? And it sounds like you love your girlfriend and it sounds like you love her daughter. Do you think that you love them enough to reach out and to try and get yourself some help?

OK. When you are over in Afghanistan and you were facing battle, you did thing to prepare yourself for that battle, is that right? You would have a weapon that worked. You would have protected gear and you would have people that you depended on that could you help you through that. And you won't think about going into battle and leaving one of those things out, is that correct? So what I hear you're doing is your home and you're facing a battle just as serious as the one over there and you're doing it without a proper support.

[21:25:012] All right. So, your girlfriend is got to come home and that was the thing. And that was good that either have you commit suicide or not. So now that she is coming home, you think you're going to be OK? Michael (ph), I really want you to get some thought about reaching out V.A. and getting yourself some help, OK? Because they really can help you, OK?

All right. You take care. All right. Bye-bye.

And while we are on the phone, he is playing with the clip. I could hear it like the gun going back and forth so that was...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you OK?

MCHENRY: Yeah. It was a little, you know, he went into detail about his friend dying over in battle so that was a little...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's the one...

MCHENRY: And not like gory (ph) detail. Not, you know, like just emotional, I held him in my arms as he died.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.

MCHENRY: You know, so that was a little...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. He's reliving all of that. So how did it end?

MCHENRY: It was really -- it was a (inaudible) said that was her in the other line. She is got to come home. I'm going to be OK. Thank you. I'll call back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

MCHENRY: So it is real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well let's hope that's the case. You need to (inaudible) with that.

MCHENRY: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, are you stating me to have Luis call you? OK. OK. OK.

Do you -- have you -- you are having (inaudible) to suicide? OK. OK. I got -- Luis has your phone number right now, OK? OK.

He served in Lebanon and with all the things going on, he's like "I need to talk to a veteran who gets it so".

Luis: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you can call him, I don't mind disconnect to him.

Luis: Jerry (ph), my name is Luis, how you doing? I was in the army. I've just retired. Is someone with you right now, Jerry (ph)? How you doing? Are you his mother? OK. What sound did he start watching the news? Does he have a lot of flashbacks? Has he talked about suicide? Hurting himself?

He's just having an emotional breakdown right now? OK. Well, what do you feel? Do you feel that he is safe right now or do you feel that he needs to go the hospital? Has he -- I mean, has he ever had an episode where you thought that he wouldn't going to be safe?

OK. And how do you think he would feel if I did call an ambulance? I mean protocol is, you know, usually the first one is that show up are the police and they make sure that no weapons, they make sure that there's, you know, any animals or anything that can hurt, you know, the EMTs when they arrive and then the EMT is come surely after.

OK. Well if you feel that it's going to get out of control then, you know, you can give us a call back yourself, OK? And I will call a rescue. OK. You have it going ma'am. Right.

Well the veterans, the mother was with him and it's -- apparently, he is always having like an emotional breakdown every time he watches a news and he sees -- he served in Lebanon -- there in Lebanon.

He said that it's still going on, you know, and it's got (inaudible) and, you know, I served there, you know, and he started to cry. And that's when he put his mother on the phone.

I lost two soldiers in Afghanistan and it didn't, I mean, it affected me because that's another human being, but I think the hardest thing that hit me was when I came back and I went to work in the unit dealing with wounded warriors and a warrior transition unit and (inaudible) might hang themselves. And nobody saw the signs. You know, I was -- that was hard.

No matter how much training I've had in the army on suicide. You know, no matter what my degree is in, you know, when it's all said and done, this is another human being on the other line, you know, that's reaching out for me at that moment. He's giving me that five minutes or that 10 minutes or whatever timeframe to help him, you know.

And I can either help him, you know, or, you know, he's fell to the crisis and he's become a statistic. You know, and that's my job, is to make sure that he doesn't become statistic that we help him or her.

CAROL: I have a veteran in other line with one of my responders that has initiated an overdose of pills.

[21:30:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said I want you to know that they're coming, OK?

CAROL: 12 hydrocodone and 12 muscle relaxers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know your getting tired, Stan (ph), but I need to stay with me. OK?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No veteran we'll tell you that they went to war to kill a child or to kills civilian. It's the reality of war, it's the nature of war and the violence. Talk to any Vietnam veteran, they'll tell you they're orders were shooting anything that moves. Can you imagine that must be he like to be 17 and scared out of your minds and to get that order and try to fit in with your unit and shoot anything moves and then it's a family. Was that was that like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm glad that you call today, Stan (ph). I'm glad you pick up the phone. How long (inaudible) did you take the pills. OK. Stan (ph), I want I want you to know that I'm going to have someone come get you, OK? But I want you to stay on the phone with me, until they get there. Just stand the line with me, all right?

[21:35:06] CAROL: Hi. Yes, ma'am, I have a veteran on the line with one of my responders that has initiated an overdose of pills.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, I want you to know that they're coming, OK?

CAROL: 12 hydrocodone and 12 muscle relaxers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know your getting tired, Stan (ph), but I need you to stay with me, OK?

CAROL: He is at the camp ground at rolling lake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They give you a sticker to put in your camp site? Oh you're just squatting or something? Are you sitting on the ground outside? You said your jeep was red and it was off for route 174.

CAROL: He said he's squatting, so he doesn't have a space (inaudible) to him. He is in a red jeep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it's hard to walk but I really need you go outside, OK, to that he can find you real quick when they get there.

CAROL: My responder says he's fading pretty fast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try to get to the bench.

CAROL: He is on the bench outside the tent. He is a former marine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK I'm talking to my colleague they're on the way, OK?

CAROL: (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. I just got the message that they're about three minutes away, you doing a goof job, Stan (ph), just hang in there OK? You're OK?

OK. Is that the sire that I hear? Say again? Oh, good, they're there, OK.

CAROL: Yes they are on the site. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good just stand the phone with me, OK, until you there.

CAROL: OK, great thank you so much for your help. OK, bye, bye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, OK, Stan (ph) take care. Great. OK. They get there. That's a tough one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy called up, it was a very short call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He told me he was 20 years old with 4 to 5 deployments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, "I just want to give your call. Thank you at the hotline for everything you do and let you know that I'm done or it's over."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERT GRIFFO: We live like a fire house. There are times when it's relatively quite but when they need (inaudible) and people need to work, this place is a serious as a heart attack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are national crisis hotline in Upstate New York and he called our hotline this morning. All we have is the first name and a cellphone member.

BOB: This guy called up. It was a very short call, very little information but the information was concerning. He said, "I just want to give you a call. Thank you at the hotline for everything you do. And much let you know that I'm done or it's over." He gave his name, his first name only. Josie, who is a responder to the guy that call, try to engage him immediately.

JOSIE: He told me he was 20 years old with four to five deployments. Try to engage him, he hang up. So obviously he was crying out for help.

BOB: So we got that brief amount of information in the phone call that lasted all the minute, maybe two minutes, nothing.

JOSIE: And he is not answering it.

BOB: He won't pick, you could try it again while she is doing this.

JOSIE: No, I tried it four times already. But I don't want to do it too much and then having turn off his (inaudible).

BOB: How many deployments he said?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says four or five.

JOSIE: Four or five.

BOB: It can't be at that age. Really, 20 or 21 year old person in military, how many deployments could they have? Could they have four or five?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there are six month deployments. They could probably have four. Usually air force or Navy run short term.

BOB: So it could be.

MARIA: I'm ready.

BOB: There we go.

MARIA: We get a lot of calls from just, you know, first name and cellphones. Sometimes we plug them in and find info right away. Well if you were to take your phone number and plug in to a database, it might come up as your name. But in this case nothing came up on his cellphone number except that his telephone provider was (inaudible).

Hi. My name is Maria. I'm calling from the Veterans Crisis Hotline in Upstate New York.

I call (inaudible) for their law enforcement. We have law enforcement I'm going to call. So we called them and to tell them the information.

BOB: We decided that we would call and see if we can triangulate that call. We want this phone pinged, because that's all we've got.

MARIA: He said that what can do is give you the info that it's life or death, which it is because he is kind of explaining suicide. And they probably ping it off the last hour to give an approximate location. Awesome.

JOSIE: We got his name.

MARIA: Ray (ph).

OK. So you're saying his Pearl Harbor. Yeah, that's great. Thank you for all your help, sergeant Blight (ph). And if I need anything else, I'll give you a callback. Yup, better. So we got a name and we were told that he is on the based in Pearl Harbor.

BOB: And so we thought we'd call the Navy base in Hawaii, right away just on a chance.

MARIA: Hi, My name is Maria. I'm calling from the Veterans Crisis Hotline in Upstate New York. I need to speak somebody in dispatch. We don't know (inaudible).

When she first give me that she we've got, OK, he is 20, four to five deployments. It's skeptical, but when I call Verizon and they told me that it was on a joint base, so then I'm thinking, "OK, maybe he's back to duty."

[21:45:13] It (inaudible) like, so we'll give it a good 20 minutes and then callback.

JOSIE: So he started about 11:40 this morning. It is now 4:10 in the afternoon. I mean is this just long time, anybody, you just can't give up and you going to keep on trying and trying and exhaust all options.

BOB: Is that spelling of his...

JOSIE: Yes.

BOB: Veterans Crisis Hotline (inaudible). OK, he is on other line. What is your name sir? Is he about 20 years old? Is he gone on about four or five your, you know?

He has done a multiple deployments. So we we're getting closer. He has been looking down. You have seen that? OK, there we are. We need to have somebody check him out, sir.

Yes, sir. Yes sir, no problem. Yeah. What I would you like to do is can you please make sure you got eyes on him? Would you please? That would be awesome because we've been on this almost five hours now. Thank you very much, sir. Bye, bye.

Yeah, there it is.

JEFFREY: I was calling you (inaudible) member that we're looking for through Tripler.

JOSIE: Yes.

JEFFREY: Perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Awesome.

JEFFREY: All right, thanks very much for all your help.

BOB: Is he safe? Going to Tripler.

JEFFREY: Thank you, (inaudible).

BOB: Yeah, done.

JEFFREY: Yeah, bye, bye.

BOB: Certainly it's done.

JOSOE: Thank you.

JEFFREY: We did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, we.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the Tripler.

BOB: Five hours here at the hotline and its about four personnel to help one guy, which we would do over again. No problem. No problem. Because this is a good ending to this day, very good ending.

MCHENRY: So when you say you're son is out in the desert with a gun, where exactly do you mean? Arizona. Do you know what kind of gun it is he has?

I can hear everything she is saying to him. She is pleading with him to come home. She is crying. She said it would be a Christmas present if he came home. She just told them she loved them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCHENRY: I've been here for two years and there's calls that stick with you. You know, there's calls that you still wonder how are they? Are they OK? You know, because they call you at the worst possible moment in their lives. And you help them through that and you can't help but take some of that with you.

Thank you for the Veterans Crisis Line. This is Maureen. How may I help you? OK, you take your time.

OK. So when you say your son out in the desert with the gun, where exactly do you mean? Arizona. Do you know what kind of gun it is he has? You think it's a 22? OK. So he told you that he wrote a suicide note and it's with him with truck right now?

No. Was he ever deployed, ma'am? 22 years is a long time. He was in the Gulf War? OK. You think that it was the final divorce papers that he got him from his wife that kind of pushed him over the edge? OK.

So he's got a lot going on, the divorce and he feels like he's a burden on you, guys. He just -- that nothing left in life (ph) form? So the phone call ended with you telling him you'd see him tomorrow and he didn't. OK. But he didn't agree that he'd be seeing you any time soon?

So there's a couple different options that we can do here. Do you think if you called him from the other phone that you were talking to him on, and told him that if I called I can then put on you on the line as well and the three of us can talk? Do you think he'd be open to that?

Yeah, I can hear everything she's saying to him. She's pleading with him to come home. She's crying. She's said it would be a Christmas present if he came home. She just told him she loved him. She keeps telling him just come on home. She's telling him to talk to me.

You did really good talking to him. You know, I can hear everything you said to him. You did a really good job. I don't know if I would have handled that as well if it is one of my boys. You did really a good job.

[21:55:03] Now, when he tells you that he's got to head home, do you think he's going to do that? All right.

So, Pat (ph), what I'll do is I'll call back and probably a half hour because we've been talking for a bit. And I'm really going to try and talk with him before, you know, the night is out because I really -- I need to make sure that he's OK.

All right, Pat (ph). Take care. Bye-bye.

I go to talk to my supervisor and see what she would like me to do next. Get some guidance on this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are your concerns?

MCHENRY: That he has a loaded 22 and he's driving home. You know -- I mean he told the mother he'd drive home. He told the mother, you know, she -- I heard her say I love you, and I asked her what he's response back was. And he said, "I love you too."

She told him that this would be the best Christmas present that he could give her if he came home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

MCHENRY: And she cry -- you know, her voice cracked and I asked her what was his response to that and he said -- she said that he just took a couple of deep breaths.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does she feel he's coming home?

MCHENRY: Yeah, I asked her. You know, when he said he's got to do it, do you think he'll follow through.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

MCHENRY: Which she said yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I think we have to believe that.

MCHENRY: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

PAT (ph): Hello?

MCHENRY: Hi Pat (ph). Hi, it's Maureen. OK. Just pulled up, OK. All right, good timing. All right, let's see if we can get him to talk to me on the phone, OK? Yeah.

When I called he had just walked through the front door and the mother put me on speaker phone and she must still holding the phone because I heard her hug him, you know, I can hear like the fabric. And she said I love you and she started crying.

So, you know, just Christmas Eve and, you know, your son was out in the desert.

John (ph). Hi. My name is Maureen. Can you hear me OK? OK. All right. Thank you for talking with me.

Can I ask you a real quick just so I make sure that you're safe. Where's the gun right now? The gun is in the truck. OK. Do you think your dad could go out and get it and just kind of keep it safe for the night? OK. And you guys have his car keys?

Tell me what you re thinking about when you're out in the desert, what was going through your mind and what you did?

He told me that if his mom hadn't call that the time that I had asked her to call trying to convince him to do the three-way call, that he probably wouldn't have done it, that he had the gun out.

And I heard that you wrote a suicide note?

He's definitely very desperate and very just hopeless right now.

Right. And I think part of getting on track with your life is talking to people at the V.A. and making sure that your depression is in check. You know, depression is really hard to work on on your own.

I will put a referral through for him to the V.A. But, you know, I think if this gentleman doesn't get some intervention quickly and it's not going to turn out well.

Well, thank you, John (ph). I appreciate your service. You know, you sacrifice a lot for us and we're here to help you in any way we can. You don't have to do this by yourself. All right. Bye-bye. Have a nice holiday. All right. Bye-bye.

Thank you for calling the Veterans Crisis hotline. This is Maureen. How may I help you?