As Paul Whitehead's father, the release of information by the Juneau Police Department and the Juneau Empire was wholly unacceptable at this time. Just to be clear, his mother feels the very same way.
Add to this that the recent article ("Police respond to youth suicide" in Friday's Empire) was written in a way as to allow readers to assume Paul may have taken drugs makes it all the more egregious. Those who knew Paul know the type of person he has been, a boy of great character, intelligence and generosity.
Please know this was not an incident caused by anger, frustration, depression or the host of many other things for which many may have taken their life. This was a choice Paul made, and it was no accident. A choice he explained clearly to us in the communications he left. A decision we never had a chance to prevent, nor did we have knowledge of the beliefs that carried him to the culmination of this action. Paul made it very clear that this was going to happen, no matter the method. This wasn't a careless act, nor an argument for gun control.
Paul genuinely believed he was releasing himself to become something more. We can only hope he found the answers he was seeking.
Take solace in knowing Paul chose to donate his organs to others and his tremendous heart is giving someone else life. With that said, I hope you join my family and I in mourning his loss and remembering him fondly. We will be sending out the details of the services as soon as they are finalized and all are welcome to attend. Out of kindness, First Bank has established a memorial fund in Paul's name, so in lieu of flowers, please donate to the fund so that we can ensure Paul is remembered by all.
We thank all for their thoughts and prayers. In the interim, please share this message with others to help us ensure people know what really happened, rather than to allow the perpetuation of assumptions and rumors to continue.
Shame on you, JPD and the Juneau Empire. My son deserved better than this sensationalism, which has only contributed to our pain. We should have been given the opportunity to inform our community of not only our loss, but of what a special young man I was able to proudly boast was my son.