Construction worker's fatal fall from a downtown high-rise is ruled a suicide

The death of a man who fell from the 53rd floor of the downtown Los Angeles Wilshire Grand construction site last week has been ruled a suicide, the county coroner said Thursday.

It was Joseph Sabbatino’s second day on the job as an electrician at the construction site when he plunged to his death and landed on a moving car March 17. The driver of the car was uninjured.

Sabbatino, 36, had been depressed and struggling to find a stable career, his father, Vance Sabbatino, told KABC.

He left his job as a real estate agent with Re/Max All-Pro in the Antelope Valley in December, a company official said.

On his Re/Max profile, Sabbatino described himself as sincere, effective and determined.

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“Wanting to expand my knowledge in other aspects, in 1999 I moved to the Antelope Valley and pursued construction where I learned about framing, electrical, and HVAC which continued to enhance my insight in real estate,” he wrote.

Turner Construction, the company that manages the building site, said last week that the fallen worker had no reason to be above the third floor. Witnesses said it appeared he had removed his hard hat before the fall and that he was not wearing a tethered safety harness.

He landed on the car of Donna Crockett, who told KTLA she was headed to her job downtown and was navigating downtown traffic when her vehicle suddenly shook.

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“It was like a second. I moved over and then ‘boom!’ my car just shook. And I’m sitting there, like, ‘Oh God, somebody hit me,’” she told the station. “When I opened up the door his boot was lying next to my car.”

The incident shut down construction at the site for two days before restarting again on Monday.

The construction company said all workers went through a "comprehensive safety orientation" for the project. Sabbatino had completed his safety training the day before he died.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

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