Cop, 30, dies after shooting himself at home amid NYPD's worsening mental health crisis; seventh death this year
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill had already called the spike in police suicides a mental health crisis. With this death there now has been five suicides in the NYPD since June 5 and a total of seven this year.
STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK: The mental health crisis plaguing the NYPD is only worsening.
An off-duty New York City police officer was found dead on July 27 afternoon of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said Saturday. Authorities believe the 30-year-old transit cop shot and killed himself in New Dorp on July 27 and has been identified as Sergeant Terrance McAvoy, according to sources.
With his death there now has been five suicides in the NYPD since June 5 and a total of seven this year.
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill had already called the spike in police suicides a mental health crisis. On Saturday night, he issued the following statement:
"The tragic news today that another member of the NYPD has been lost to suicide breaks our hearts, and is a deep sorrow felt by all of New York City. To every member of the NYPD, please know this: it is okay to feel vulnerable. It is okay if you are facing struggles. And it is okay to seek help from others. You may not know this, and it may be hard to imagine, but you are not out there all by yourself. More people than you know, who wear the same uniform as you do, share the same doubts and fears and struggles that you do. Seeking help is strength. Talking about your problems is strength. Acknowledging you need a place to turn is strength. There is no shame here — only a promise to provide you with the help and support you need and deserve."
Staten Island district attorney Michael McMahon took to Twitter to express his grief shortly after the tragedy and urged cops to seek help if they feel troubled. "Tonight, all of Staten Island is grieving with the family and loved ones of Sgt Terrance McAvoy and the entire @NYPDnews
family. Another tragedy has claimed a member of the Finest far too soon," he wrote.
Tonight, all of Staten Island is grieving with the family and loved ones of Sgt Terrance McAvoy and the entire @NYPDnews family. Another tragedy has claimed a member of the Finest far too soon— Michael E. McMahon (@StatenIslandDA) July 28, 2019
Remember that help is available to ANY NYPD personnel at https://t.co/gFxMr4sUne https://t.co/uQvcKDhKyM
According to an FDNY spokesperson, at roughly 4.02 p.m., emergency personnel discovered the victim in critical condition and performed CPR on the site, but were unable to resuscitate. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed that the officer was shot and died from his injuries at that location.
Officers looking for help can visit the NYPD's Suicide Awareness and Mental Health Resources.
Commissioner O'Neill had already deemed the suicides a mental health crisis.
This is a mental-health crisis. And the NYPD & the law enforcement profession as a whole absolutely must take action. We must take care of each other; we must address this issue — now. Please take my statement below to heart & help yourself, your loved ones, & your colleagues. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/urHuzIiiFb— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) June 15, 2019
"This is a mental health crisis," O'Neill said. "And the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole absolutely must take action. We must take care of each other; we must address this issue — now. Please take my statement below to heart & help yourself, your loved ones, & your colleagues."
According to a recent white paper commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization, police officers and firefighters are much more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
2017 saw at least 103 firefighter suicides and 140 police officer suicides nationwide, researchers said. On the contrary, 93 firefighters and 129 police officers died in the line of duty.
"First responders are heroes who run towards danger every day in order to save the lives of others," Ruderman Family Foundation president Jay Ruderman said in a statement Thursday. "They are also human beings, and their work exerts a toll on their mental health. It is our obligation to support them in every way possible – to make sure that they feel welcome and able to access life-saving mental health care."
"We need to end the silence that surrounds the issue of first responder mental health," he added.