Teen with history of suicidal ideations hangs himself in adult jail, BSO deputies say

Deputies: Teen arrested for stealing AK-47 in backpack commits suicide in jail

Sonny Rugani, 17, hanged himself in the main Broward County jail. Deputies say he had a history of suicidal ideations.
Sonny Rugani, 17, hanged himself in the main Broward County jail. Deputies say he had a history of suicidal ideations.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A troubled teenager who had been at risk of committing suicide was imprisoned at the Broward County main jail, where he hanged himself, the Broward Sheriff's Office announced Thursday afternoon.  

According to Keyla Concepcion, a BSO spokeswoman, Broward Health Medical Center doctors pronounced Sonny Rugani dead at 12:07 p.m. Wednesday. Court records show Rugani, who was born in Hawthorne, California, and turned 17 years old May 31, claimed he was innocent. 

"During the two months Rugani remained at the jail, he did not exhibit or express suicidal tendencies," Concepcion wrote in a news release that reported he had a history of suicidal ideations before he was booked in the adult jail.

Records show officers with the Coral Springs Police Department arrested Rugani on charges of grand theft firearm and armed burglary conveyance on June 1. Officers said he wanted to commit suicide, and they found his threats believable enough to take him to University Hospital & Medical Center. 

According to Officer Julio Perez, Rugani broke into the trunk of a black S550 Mercedes-Benz and took a black backpack that contained a Century Arms Micro Draco AK-47 semi-automatic pistol that belonged to Prince Rotibi.

Century Arms Micro Draco AK-47 semi-automatic pistol
Century Arms Micro Draco AK-47 semi-automatic pistol

"Rugani's parents were aware of the situation and gave permission for officers to speak with Rugani," Perez wrote in the police report, adding that Rugani allegedly said he found the black backpack, took it home and hid it in his sister's bedroom. Perez reported officers found the weapon in Rugani's home.

Rugani was on probation and was wearing an electronic monitor. Officers believed there was a risk that he was suffering from suicidal ideations and took him from his home, which was on Wild Lime Lane at Live Oak Drive in a gated community near Coral Springs High School, to the hospital.

University Hospital & Medical Center provided emergency mental health services and released him to the Coral Springs Police Department on June 12. Concepcion said deputies processed him at the Juvenile Assessment Center that day and transferred him to the Broward County Juvenile Detention Center.

Broward County Circuit Judge Barbara Duffy was handling Rugani's first-degree felony case when he was adjudicated and transferred to the adult jail on June 25. Rugani was being held without bond.

"Though he had been cleared by medical professionals two weeks prior, medical staff at the jail placed Rugani on suicide watch as a precaution," Concepcion wrote in a statement. "After two days of observation, he was transferred to the juvenile general population housing."

Court records show Rugani's "not guilty" plea was filed July 1, and he was reassigned a public defender July 28. Concepcion said Rugani was participating in the educational and juvenile life skills programs.

Detectives are still investigating Rugani's death. 

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