Courtesy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Published Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 | 8:50 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 | 9:40 p.m.
The son of a federal appeals court judge shot himself dead in the courtyard of the Las Vegas Mormon temple Tuesday night.
Scott Greer Bybee, 26, committed suicide in an inside courtyard area away from the lobby and from worshipers who were attending a temple session about 6:40 p.m. in the building, located at 827 Temple View Drive near Bonanza Road and Hollywood Boulevard.
Bybee, of Henderson, is the son of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Scott Bybee.
In a statement released Wednesday, the judge said his son suffered from severe depression from a young age. The family sought advice and treatment for him, but the “sufferings became too great,” the statement said.
“While Jay and Dianna mourn for Scott, and grieve for their own loss, they are grateful that he is finally released from his sufferings,” said the statement, released by fellow judge Milan D. Smith Jr. on behalf of the family. “They have faith that he is in a better place.”
Metro Police Lt. Mark Reddon said the suicide prompted temple officials to cancel the rest of the night's sessions.
“No one else was threatened,” Reddon said. “The temple had a service going on inside, but (attendees) were inside the building.”
According to the temple’s website, hourly sessions run from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
"The incident that occurred at the temple this evening is tragic, and we are mindful of all those involved," said Kristen Howey, a spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a prepared statement issued late Tuesday.
Jay Bybee, 60, was nominated to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2003.
He was criticized for penning documents in August 2002 infamously known as “torture memos” that made interrogation techniques such as waterboarding permissible on terrorism detainees at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Mormons believe killing oneself is wrong, but they don't hold suicidal persons responsible, said Jared Overton, a Las Vegas-based psychologist who specializes in the mental health of the Mormon community.
“God is the ultimate judge on that action, or any action,” Overton said. “(The act of suicide) is certainly not a condemnation of the individual.”