By: Sharon Aron Baron
A teen with a history of depression and suicidal thoughts was able to hang himself while at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Main Jail.
On September 1, at 4:00 a.m., a BSO detention deputy discovered 17-year-old Sonny Rugani, a junior at Coral Springs High School, had attempted suicide. Deputies and medical staff at the jail rendered immediate assistance as the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue transported Rugani to the Broward Health Medical Center where he was hospitalized.
On September 4, Rugani was pronounced dead at 12:07 p.m.
According to the Miami Herald, Florida Statute 985.265, supervision of children in jail requires documented checks no more than 10 minutes apart. Officials at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office could not confirm the last time Sonny was checked because of the ongoing investigation.
Initially arrested by Coral Springs Police June 1 on grand theft and burglary charges, Rugani made threats against his own life. Officers transported him to University Hospital & Medical Center under the Baker Act, where he remained under care until he was cleared and released by medical staff on June 12. Upon his release, CSPD officers transported Rugani to the Juvenile Assessment Center for processing where he remained at the Broward Juvenile Detention Center until he was adjudicated as an adult, and was transported to the BSO Main Jail on June 25. BSO stated that during the two months Rugani remained at the jail, he did not exhibit or express suicidal tendencies and participated daily in the educational and juvenile Life Skills programs.
According to the Broward County Public Defender’s Office, one of the Baker Act petitions quoted Sonny saying, “I am going to kill myself in jail.”
Public defenders messaged the jail warning that Sonny used to cut his wrists. He was on suicide watch for two days as a precautionary measure after he was put into the jail’s custody in late June.
The investigation is ongoing.