NYPD officer, 29, dies after shooting himself in the head behind his precinct; third police suicide in 10 days
A 29-year-old New York City police officer has died after shooting himself in the head. This is the third suspected suicide in the department in less than 10 days.
The New York Police Department shared the details of the incident in a statement on Friday, and also spoke about the other officers who are believed to have taken their own lives in the last nine days.
The 29-year-old shot himself around 3:45 pm on Friday on a Staten Island street behind the 121st Precinct. The officer—a domestic violence investigator who had worked with the police department for the last six years—was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the statement.
Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill addressed the incidents as a crisis and asserted that the department must work together towards ending the crisis. "This is a mental-health crisis," he said in the statement. "And we—the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole—absolutely must take action. This cannot be allowed to continue. Cops spend so much of their days assisting others. But before we can help the people we serve, it is imperative that we first help ourselves," read the statement.
O'Neil also requested officers and NYPD personnel to seek out help whenever they felt the need.
His statement and the recent suicide comes just two weeks after two other officers died in suspected suicides within just 24 hours of each other.
One of them was Deputy Chief Steven Silks—found dead in a police vehicle in Queens on June 5. The other officer was Detective Joseph Calabrese, found dead the next day at a Brooklyn beach.
Police have revealed that both died by inflicting gunshots to the head. This prompted O'Neil to advocate for officers seeking mental health assistance saying it's not a sign of weakness, but that of "great strength."
Calabrese was 58 years old at the time of his death. He was last heard on June 6, shortly after leaving his wife at a hospital where she was recovering after undergoing a minor procedure, the New York Post reported.
He was a first-grade detective, and his vehicle was found later near the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. His son serves in the NYPD's 67th precinct, according to the New York Daily News.
A photo from the scene showed at least 100 people, both in uniform and plain clothes, engaged in searching the area surrounding the water at the Plumb Beach rest area in Brooklyn.
Calabrese was reportedly with his wife at the Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park between roughly midnight and 2am. He did not report to work following that and, at 3 am, his black Cadillac was spotted near Plumb Beach, off the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. NBC reported that a license plate reader showed him driving eastbound near the Verrazano Bridge shortly after 2 am.
"He didn't report to work. He had not shown up. Nobody was able to get ahold of him," a high-ranking police source told the Daily Mail Online.
Police dogs assisting in a search for the detective "were tracking his scent and it ended at the water," another high-ranking source within the NYPD shared with the outlet.
After over 14 hours since Calabrese was last heard from, and following a vigorous, relentless search carried out by a massive search party of officers and civilians alike, his body was found.
He had served for 37 years in the force and was assigned to Brooklyn South homicide squad. He had also served as a chairman for the board of trustees for the DEA.