Brian Christopher was found hanging in his jail cell while being kept in isolation in a Hardeman County Tennessee facility. Jerry “The King” Lawler, Christopher’s father spoke on his Dinner With The King podcast, where he was able to vent and share with his fans what the past few days of his life have been like.
The Tennessee Bureau Of Investigation is currently investigating Christopher’s death. The WWE Hall Of Famer was asked by the TBI not to discuss the events due to their on-going investigation. Lawler did share his experience and expressed disbelief at the events.
“I never dreamed it in a million years to get the phone call that I got last week,” Lawler said. “It was just devastating and then all of the events after that have almost been a blur. You’re suddenly living a nightmare.”
Lawler was at a hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina after an event and his phone rang. A Hardeman County Sheriff was on the other end saying, “Mr. Lawler, I just wanted to call and tell you that your son Brian has hung himself at the jail.”
“I knew this was the real deal, but I didn’t believe it,” Lawler said.
He was informed they were transporting Christopher to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Lawler was informed Christopher didn’t have a pulse at first, but they were able to re-establish breathing after discovering him in his cell. Then he was called a few minutes later and informed that his son was being airlifted to Memphis for more intensive trauma care.
“I was stuck there in Raleigh, there was nothing I could do until the next morning when I could get on the plane,” Lawler said. All he could do was talk to his family about Christopher’s condition and he held out hope that his son would pull through. Things seemed to change for Lawler after he finally arrived back in Memphis to find his son in a hospital bed.
“That’s when it really hit me when I walked into the emergency room and saw Brian lying there,” Lawler said. He was told, “it didn’t look good,” and Lawler said he knew the only thing keeping Christopher alive was a breathing machine.
The Lawler Family was informed that Christopher’s brain stem was still intact but his brain had been deprived of oxygen long enough that there was no chance of a response. While not ruling out a miracle, the experts said they’d never seen someone come back from a condition like Christopher’s.
Lawler said his son was also given IV medication to keep his pulse up until his blood pressure started going down on its own. His doctor advised that they can keep trying to keep Christopher alive with medication, but it was prolonging the inevitable. After deciding not to give Christopher the medication to elevate his pulse, his blood pressure dramatically decreased.
“We just let him not put the blood pressure medicine in,” Lawler said. “Sure enough in about — it really went down fast — I would say in about twenty minutes his blood pressure was down to basically nothing.
“We just stood there and I held his hand and his heart stopped beating. That was it.”
The family was given all the time they needed to say goodbye before leaving and then they were forced to plan an unexpected funeral service.
“What you saw with Brian was what you got,” Lawler said. “Going back to what caused all of this or why Brian was in the situation he was in. You know, Brian made some bad decisions in his life. It’s one of the things I was trying to say to him when he was in [the hospital], I said, ‘Brian you have made some bad decisions, but this is your worst if you really made the decision to take your life.'”
Christopher was arrested for a third DUI charge and jailed on July 7th, three weeks before his death. Lawler said his son was working out at the gym and came home at around 11:00 pm when a police officer pulled in behind him as Christopher entered his own home’s driveway.
The WWE Hall Of Famer was assured by the Hardeman Country Sheriff that Christopher would be safe in his jail and he encouraged the Memphis wrestling legend to keep his son behind bars. Lawler was told this is what Christopher needed and he was promised further drug and alcohol rehabilitation following incarceration.
“I had many conversations with Brian from the time he got arrested from the time he was in jail,” Lawler said. “I even went to meet Brian and the Sheriff of Hardeman Country in his own office and had Brian in there.
“Brian was at the point where he needed help and I think he realized it. But, you know there’s some things that went on while Brian was in jail and then he basically was going to have a mandatory — it was his third DUI — and in Tennessee, I believe that’s a mandatory ninety-days in jail. We spoke with the Sheriff and this is the crazy thing, he said, ‘this is going to be the best thing for Brian. He needs help, we’re going to get him some help. We’ll get him into a rehab program from here.’ He said, ‘Jerry, my jail is going to be the best place for Brian for the next few weeks.’ He said, ‘I’ll personally keep an eye on him and he’ll be safe here,’ and then this is what’s happened.”
Lawler said there is more to the story, but he is unable to speak about it in detail. Hopefully, in time, we will know the full truth, but until then, Lawler voiced his doubts that his son really decided to take his own life.
“I have doubts as to whether Brian really did actually commit suicide,” Lawler said. “The Tennessee Bureau Of Investigation is working on investigating what happened at the jail. I don’t have any results from that yet, but I have my doubts as well.
“We’ve been contacted by inmates who were in the jail with Brian and they don’t believe what was told was actually what happened. We’ve been contacted by another person who witnessed… I probably shouldn’t say any more because this investigation is ongoing and it may take a long time to get sorted out.
“I don’t want to believe that Brian committed suicide but by the same token, if there is something else involved, it will bring Brian back, I don’t know if it will make it better or worse. We just want to know what actually happened because right now there’s a lot of doubt and a lot of questions that are going to have to be answered in the next few months.”
Lawler voiced his question of how his son was even able to hang himself while in his cell if he actually chose to end his own life. He went on to say his attorney also didn’t believe this version of the story.
“My attorney just looked at this and said, his exact words were, ‘Jerry, this doesn’t pass the smell test. I mean something’s not right about this whole thing.'”
Lawler Family attorney Ted Hansom told WBTV News that the family is looking for specific answers regarding what happened to Christopher.
“What’s been put out is this is a suicide or attempted suicide,” Hansom said. “So yes, I would say the family is certainly shocked and surprised at that.”
Despite the eight-year-old Hardeman County Jail passing inspection reports, Hansom and The Lawler Family are not convinced they know the whole story.
“I accept the reports for what they are and to the extent that they represent a report,” Hansom said. “Obviously in this day and time, many places, particularly jails have video cameras in just about every corner. So it would be interesting to see the actual events.”