Skating Icon ID'd as Mission SFPD Suicide

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Jun 23, 2011  |  Updated 9:10 AM PDT
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Skating Icon ID'd as Mission SFPD Suicide

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The man who fatally shot himself in the head in front of a San Francisco police station on Monday morning was a founder of an influential skateboarding magazine and an icon in the movement, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

The co-founder of San Francisco-based Thrasher Magazine, Eric Swenson, 64, of Potrero Hill, shot himself in the head in front of the Valencia Street-located Mission Police Station at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. He was suffering from lingering pain from a motorcycle accident, and may have ended his life to escape that grief, according to loved ones.

"Eric was not a person who wanted to burden anybody," said Gwynn Vitello, the publisher of the magazine, in a statement to the newspaper. Swenson was a private man, and ending his life in front of a police station meant his family and friends wouldn't be burdened with finding a body, Vitello said.

In addition to the magazine, which helped establish skateboarding as a culture instead of a mere fad, Swenson also co-founded a company that produced skateboard trucks, the metal devices on which skateboard wheels are mounted.

Swenson was never a skater -- the motorcycle accident, coming when he was 20, limited his mobility -- but instead worked behind the scenes, on the trucks and on the magazine, to transform skateboarding culture.

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