Bereaved Mother of Suicide Suing Facility Where He Had Access to Roof

The mother of a 21-year-old mentally ill man is suing the Jack Ryan Residence in Chelsea for allowing him free access to the roof of the 10-story facility. In 2013 Angel Nunez jumped to his death from the roof of 127 West 25th Street, and his mother, Astra Rodriquez, 59, holds the staff at the residence responsible.

“This isn’t a shelter with cots. It’s a mental health facility but they allowed residents almost totally unrestricted access to the roof. The doctors knew that he had suicidal tendencies. He’s depressed and he jumps. It’s absolutely horrible,” said Rodriguez’s lawyer, Elliot Pastik.

According to court records Nunez left a note for his family on August 2, 2013, went to the roof where he climbed over a 9-foot fence, and stood on the ledge. He ignored staff who ran to help him and tried to talk him down. At 5:40pm Nunez emptied his pockets of his money and ID, threw them up in the air, threw out his arms, looked at the staff, and then fell to his death.

The operators of the facility, the Bowery Residents Committee, opened the Jack Ryan residence in 2011, despite neighborhood opposition. At the time the BRC bragged about their “rooftop garden” which residents could access, getting fresh air without the need to congregate on the sidewalks outside the residence, therefore avoiding the neighbors and their wrath.

“They’re serving people with mental issues. How are you going to leave access to the roof to people who are mentally ill?” Astra Rodriguez said. “Not only because it was my son — anyone else could have gone up there and decided to hurt themselves.”