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NYPD: Police sergeant dies by suicide in Queens

Officers and firefighters are more likely to die

Officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, according to a report last year by the Ruderman Family Foundation. Credit: iStock

An off-duty NYPD sergeant shot himself to death Tuesday night in Queens, the department said, the 10th city police officer to die by suicide this year.

The sergeant’s name, age and department assignment were not immediately released. 

He took his life at his home near St. John’s University, in the borough’s Fresh Meadows neighborhood, said NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Mary O’Donnell on Tuesday night.  

An emergency call came in at about 9:30 p.m. and he was pronounced dead about a half-hour later, she said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had been notified about the death, said his chief spokeswoman, Freddi Goldstein. 

Tuesday night's suicide is the 10th by an NYPD officer in 2019. Four NYPD officers took their lives in all of last year.

After four department officers killed themselves in June this year alone, the NYPD declared a mental health crisis among the ranks and urged cops to seek help for themselves or others in distress. 

“Seeking help is never a sign of weakness In fact, it’s a sign of great strength,” Police Commissioner James O'Neill tweeted at the time.

The most recent suicide before Tuesday took place in August when NYPD Officer Robert Echeverria, who grew up in West Islip and lived in Laurelton, Queens, killed himself. His sister, Eileen Echeverria of West Islip, told Newsday in the days afterward that the department had cleared her brother for duty after a June mental health evaluation — even though he regularly threatened to harm himself or others. 

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea did not address Eileen Echeverria’s allegations at the time but acknowledged the department continued to struggle with officer suicides. 

Cops and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, according to a report last year by the Ruderman Family Foundation, which concluded that people in these professions kill themselves at higher rates than in the general population.

The NYPD is considering ways to detect suicide risk among its officers, including mandatory mental-health checkups, rethinking its prescription-drug policies and mining personnel data about each of its officers, such as discipline records and off-the-job problems, the department said late last month.


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