NMAI suicide victim suffered from depression

By Alysa Landry
Special to the Times

WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2014

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The Washington, D.C, Metropolitan Police Department has released the identity of the man who jumped to his death Nov. 23 inside the National Museum of the American Indian. The Times was the only newspaper to obtain the name of the man.

Richard Pomerantz, 50, of Indianapolis, Ind., jumped from a balcony on the fourth floor of the museum at about 4:15 p.m. that day, police spokeswoman Gwen Crump said. She did not provide additional information.

Pomerantz fell to the atrium below, where traditional ceremonies are regularly held. Hundreds of visitors were in the museum at the time, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution and is located on the National Mall. Pomerantz was visiting the museum with family, but he was alone at the time of the incident.

Pomerantz sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital, where he later died. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not yet completed its investigation into cause of death, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.


His family wants to remember him as a dynamic person with many interests, said his wife Sharon Karp during a phone interview this week. Pomerantz is survived by his wife and his 16-year-old son Jeremy.

"He was a very caring person," Karp said of her husband. "He was very intellectual and very interested in a lot of things."

Pomerantz enjoyed fishing, skiing, playing chess, hiking, traveling with his family, reading and writing. He also was a fan of doing and creating crossword puzzles, and his closest friend was his son, Karp said.

"He basically raised our son as a stay-at-home dad," she said. "They did everything together. They went fishing, played chess, traveled all over the world together. They even did homework together."

Pomerantz also suffered from depression, his wife said. His death came after a "really hard year."

Pomerantz was born in Philadelphia on May 30, 1963. He held a bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Education degree from Boston University. He was buried in Philadelphia.

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