Jackie Pieffer is your average BYU-Idaho student. She is a music major and walks the campus just like everyone else does.
On Wednesday, Jan. 6, Pieffer travelled to the Rexburg Police Department to purchase a parking pass for the city. But instead of a peaceful errand, things took a turn for the worst.
“A guy came up behind me and was touching me around my shoulders. I thought he was going to give me a hug, or that he was just a weird guy,” Pieffer said. “But then he said, ‘I have a knife,’ and his arm was around me so that he had a knife to my throat.”
Pieffer said it happened so fast. She didn’t know what to think at first. “I just thought, ‘is this a joke? Am I getting punked right now?’” she said.
A police department lobby originally staffed by only three people soon turned into a crowded gathering with close to 30 onlookers, including a hostage negotiator, who was able to talk the man down.
“It was scary, because he was there to do a suicide by cop, and it was really sad. He just said, ‘I want someone to shoot me, I just want to die.’ That’s when I started hysterically crying,” Pieffer said. “I knew he wouldn’t really hurt me because he was shaking as much as I was. I think he just really needed some help and I just hope he’s getting it now.”
Rexburg police have not released the man’s name but did take him into custody to get some help.
Pieffer is happy she wasn’t hurt, and she has a large support group helping her, including loving friends and family. However, Pieffer is worried the suspect doesn’t have the same support she does.
“If you’re feeling bad about yourself or you’re feeling upset about life, there are other options,” Pieffer said. “There are numbers you can call and people you can talk to. There’s always help.”
If you, or someone you know is contemplating suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.