Lead Inspector in Building Collapse is Found Dead [Updated]

[Updated 9:50 am] City officials are holding a press conference about the suicide of the L&I inspector.

That last comment, from Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison, might offend the families of people who actually died in the collapse, as opposed to people who feel guilty about the people who died in the collapse. Not to be cruel to Wagenhoffer or his family, but there’s a real difference between the two modes of death.

But here’s a possible kicker:

A week later, and the commissioner still hadn’t talked to the lead inspector on the site? Why not? What’s the protocol for such events? That may be today’s lede.

So there you have it. If we didn’t know better, we’d say that city officials are now trying to buy themselves some time on this story by hiding behind dead bodies. But that’s too cynical. Philadelphia isn’t that awful, is it?

[Original: 7:01 am] Here’s the story that everybody is talking about today. NBC 10 reports:

The lead inspector of a Center City building that collapsed last week is dead after he committed suicide, according to multiple law enforcement sources close to the investigation who did not want to be named.

Law enforcement sources say the man shot himself once in the chest and was found dead inside his pickup truck along a wooded section of the 100 block of Shawmont Avenue in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, less than a mile from his home. The man didn’t leave behind a note but did text his wife before pulling the trigger, according to sources.

Philly.com adds:

Northwest Detectives said 50-year-old Ronald Wagenhoffer was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest at about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Someone found him in his vehicle on the 100 block of Shawmont Avenue and called authorities.

CBS 3 reports:

His name was not immediately released but police identified him as the lead inspector of the site at 22nd and Market where a building collapsed last week.

He was the last inspector to visit the site before a four story wall crushed the Salvation Army thrift shop, killing six people and injured 14 others.

WHYY’s Kevin McCorry’s observation: