PITTSFIELD — A vigil has been organized for a man who took his own life Tuesday evening at the encampment at Springside Park.
The gathering for Derek LaRoche will take place at noon Sept. 19 in Burbank Park, according to a Facebook event page. The public is invited.
"Derek was a wonderful person," the listing for the vigil read. "He always went out of his way to remind everyone in his life just how much they meant to him, and just how much he loved them. Selflessly giving his all to the people around him, without the expectation of ever getting anything in return. Its our turn to remind Derek of how much he meant to us all, and how loved he truly was."
LaRoche, 33, was found shortly after 7 p.m., according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. Investigators don't believe foul play was involved.
The encampment in the sprawling Springside Park has become home to dozens of people this summer, with advocates, community leaders and politicians all working to find a way to best help the homeless population.
"This is a heartbreaking tragedy. I send my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. LaRoche," said Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington, who responded to the scene. "This incident is a stark reminder of the multitude of challenges members of our community face. We ask the community to support one another, have compassion and understanding, and find ways to help lift the burdens and stresses we all feel."
The victim witness advocates from the DA's office are offering the family and witnesses grief support and connecting them to services.
"This is a tragedy for this young man, and I am extremely sorry that this has happened to him, and that his family is grieving his loss," said Mayor Linda Tyer. "These types of things are deeply personal to everyone involved."
Anyone having thoughts of suicide or a mental health crisis may find help in a number of ways:
Call the Brien Center at 1-800-252-0227 to talk to a local crisis counselor 24/7 or text NAMI to 741-741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor 24/7. Or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.