Police say a man committed suicide Monday by jumping from the Space Needle in Gatlinburg.
At about 5:40 p.m. on April 11, 2016, police received a call that someone had fallen from the Arcadia Space Needle. Officers responded to the scene at 115 Motor Nature Trail where they found a deceased white male in his late fifties on the sidewalk. Passersby were horrified and visibly shaken by the event. Adults and families with children traveled the sidewalk beyond the tape and the street remained closed for hours.
“The investigation revealed that the man had jumped from the observation deck of the Space Needle in an apparent suicide,” said Gatlinburg Police Chief Randall Brackins.
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is 407 feet tall and has a 360-degree observation deck overlooking the city. Below is a 25,000 square foot arcade.
Police did not disclose if the man was a local resident or tourist, and withheld his name until relatives are notified.
The man has been identified as 58-year-old David Ray Pinyan of Pigeon Forge.
Pinyan previously lived in Blountsville, Ala. and records from the Alabama Securities Commission show that he was arrested on May 4, 2010 by Sevierville and Pigeon Forge police and extradited to Alabama to face securities fraud charges. He allegedly used schemes centered on various land development opportunities and transactions involving the buying and selling of cars to defraud investors.
In 2012, he pled guilty to one charge of Fraud in Connection with the Sale of Securities and was sentenced to ten years in prison. The judge gave him credit for time served, suspended the sentence and placed Pinyan on five years probation after a plea agreement between prosecutors and Pinyan, with consultation with his victims, asserted that he would be more capable of meeting his victim restitution obligations if allowed to serve the balance of his sentence on probation. It is unclear if he completed restitution prior to his death.