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Graffiti artist dies of asphyxiation while hanging from rope 18 storeys up

Tagger found dead four floors from top of 240ft Sacramento high-rise building

  • AP
  • Published: 12:03 April 2, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • People gather near 13th and J streets to watch firefighters as they recover the body a man hanging from a rope tied to a balcony.

Sacramento: A man who was found dead hanging by a rope off an 18-storey Sacramento high-rise appears to have been a graffiti tagger, Sacramento police said Monday.

Fire Battalion Chief Marc Bentovoja said the man appears to have died accidentally of asphyxiation when he created a harness from the rope and lowered himself down the east side of the office building.

"From everything we can tell, he didn't have any special rope rappelling equipment on, climbing equipment or anything like that," he said. "He appeared to be looped into the rope."

A police department dispatch supervisor said Monday afternoon that investigators found a can of spray paint and a tool for etching glass on the part of a balcony where the ropes were anchored.

It's unclear how long the body had been hanging four floors from the top of the nearly 240-foot building.

Police and fire crews responded after receiving a call at 7.44am Monday. Rescue personnel were seen rappelling down the side of the building to check on the man, but he was already dead. The body was retrieved shortly after 9 a.m.

The coroner's office will conduct an autopsy to determine the official cause of death. It is not releasing the man's identity until his relatives are notified.

Bentovoja said the man did not appear to work for the building and investigators were reviewing building security cameras to determine how he got in.

Formally named the 1201 K Tower, the building houses offices for lobbyists, public relations businesses and law firms that do business two blocks away at the Capitol.

The man's death comes less than three weeks after police say a 22-year-old convicted graffiti tagger fell to his death while spray-painting a freeway bridge in Sacramento.

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