Inmate found dead in Roanoke City Jail involved in Starlite Motel shooting

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Inmate found dead in Roanoke City Jail involved in Starlite Motel shooting (Image 1)

ROANOKE (WSLS) - Roanoke City Sheriff's deputies found Sean Lovelace unresponsive in his housing unit early Wednesday morning at the Roanoke City Jail. 

He was pronounced dead later that day at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Lovelace was arrested on May 14. Police say he climbed on top of a motel and fired shots. 

Police say Lovelace was on the Starlite Motel roof with a rifle and another gun. He fired shots but no one was hurt. 

The Roanoke City Sheriff's office wouldn't answer questions regarding the case but told us they have suicide protocols. 

We reached out to an area jail, Western Virginia Regional, about their suicide protocol. The superintendent told us when someone comes in who has a mental illness, they are screened by doctors.

Depending on the situation, people are put on special watch and are checked on every 15 minutes minimum. Some people are put in special clothes to prevent them from hurting themselves too. 

With all the security measures put in place, in many instances the superintendent told us people who want to commit suicide will do it and wait for the opportunity to plan it accordingly.

"It's a very serious concern in any correctional facility," says Bobby Russell, superintendent at Western Virginia Regional Jail. "Many instances we get mentally ill individuals into our facility, and we go through a significant screening process with those to insure they are not suicidal or homicidal when they come into the facility because it has an impact on the operations staff and most importantly the health and well-being of the inmates." 

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