Died: July 18, 2014
Age at death: 22
Cause of death: Suicide (Fall)
Location: Pasadena, California, USA
22-year-old Graham Gentles worked at Target. He considered the other employees there to be his friends. However, shortly after enlisting in the military, Graham had an argument with a fellow employee at a bar, off-site and off-hours. The fellow employee had been bullying him for a long time. That was what started it all.
Graham came to work early every day. And he never, ever stole. Like many autistic young people, he found security in following the rules, took pride in his work, and saw his co-workers as friends. Nevertheless, because of that altercation at the bar, he was falsely accused of stealing. Target managers fired him and had him arrested and paraded in handcuffs through the store, in front of his fellow employees and customers, then taken to the police station (where he was released instead of being charged). In one day, Graham lost his job, his friends, and his reputation as an honest, diligent employee. "I've never stolen a thing," he told his mother. "This is the worst day of my life."
Feeling he had nothing left to live for, Graham jumped to his death from the roof of a hotel three days later. His mother is suing Target.
Graham Gentles-'Memorial Page'
Lawsuit claims Pasadena Target employee committed suicide after being shamed
Man With Asperger's Commits Suicide After 'Walk of Shame' at Store Employer
Humiliated Target employee and veteran killed himself 'after being wrongly accused of stealing by co-workers and paraded around the store in handcuffs as punishment'
Mother Sues Target, Claims Horrific Policy Led to Autistic Son’s Death