Former Kings draftee Tyler Honeycutt, who was found dead by Los Angeles Police Department SWAT officers early Saturday morning after an overnight standoff with police, appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to multiple reports.
Bort Escoto, who coached Tyler Honeycutt at Sylmar High School in Los Angeles from 2005 to 2009, was reportedly in touch with Honeycutt via text message during Honeycutt’s armed standoff, per a report from the Los Angeles Times, and says that Honeycutt may have taken his own life:
“He was a fantastic kid,” Escoto said. “He was a great kid to be around. But he was having some problems. … From what I know, he shot himself.”
Escoto said he spoke to police around 10 p.m. Friday and was told the situation remained the same. Then at 4:45 a.m. Saturday, he said Honeycutt’s mother called him and told him that her son taken his own life.
One of Honeycutt’s problems appears to have been the arc of his professional basketball career. Honeycutt had been playing in Israel and Russia since he was waived by the Houston Rockets in 2013, and Escoto says Honeycutt was struggling to adapt to life on foreign soil:
“It’s hard for an L.A. kid to go to Russia, not know the language or surroundings,” he said. “He was basically having a hard time with the adjustment. I just kept telling him he needed to get out and meet people.”
Escoto reportedly spoke with Honeycutt and Honeycutt’s mother Friday afternoon, hours before Honeycutt exchanged gunfire with LAPD officers who’d responded to his mother’s “man with a gun” call. Escoto was left with the impression that Honeycutt “was burdened with something,” and later advised Honeycutt’s mother to call 911 after she’d told him that Honeycutt was “acting erratically.” Escoto continued to exchange text messages with Honeycutt during the standoff:
Escoto said he continued to text Honeycutt after he was barricaded in the Sherman Oaks home to ask whether he was OK, and he would respond simply with the letter “K.”