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NYPD: Officer dies of self-inflicted gunshot wound

Police and others gather outside the Laurelton home

Police and others gather outside the Laurelton home of the off-duty NYPD officer who died Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

An off-duty NYPD officer shot himself to death Wednesday, authorities said.

He was the ninth department officer to die by apparent suicide this year.

The NYPD had not released the officer's name late Wednesday or other information about his death.

A law enforcement source said the officer was 56, a longtime member of the NYPD, and had most recently been assigned to the department's Strategic Response Group.

The unit responds to civil disturbances and major events citywide as well as neighborhoods in need of an increased police presence due to spikes in crime.

"We are saddened to announce that the NYPD has suffered another tragedy today with the loss of one of our officers to suicide," the department tweeted. "To anyone who may be struggling, know that there is support available. Behind each of these resources are people that care about your well-being."

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted about the officer's death Wednesday night.

“Tonight our city mourns a tragedy. We won’t let anyone struggle alone,” de Blasio tweeted. “I want every one of New York’s Finest to know we are here for you. We value you. Help is available. Please reach out.” 

City Councilman Donovan Richards, a Democrat from Laurelton, said he knew the officer and his family who are also from Laurelton. Richards, who chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee, said the officer was married, had two children and was a “family man.”

Earlier, a spokesman for North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset confirmed the officer was being treated there Wednesday night but provided no other details. Dozens of NYPD officers and FDNY firefighters had responded to a departmental call for blood at the hospital.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder also visited the hospital’s emergency room.

The officer’s suicide is the ninth by an NYPD officer this year, including a 35-year-old off-duty officer assigned to the Bronx who killed himself Tuesday in his Yonkers home. Four officers died by suicide in June, spurring the NYPD to declare a mental health crisis among the ranks and urge cops to seek help for themselves or others in distress.

On June 5, Deputy Chief Steven Silks killed himself with his service weapon as he sat in his unmarked police car in Forest Hills. Silks’ death was followed within days by the loss of other cops, including an officer who killed himself inside a Hicksville home and Det. Joseph Calabrese, a married father of four, who took his life in a parking area off the Belt Parkway, police said. Also in June, a 29-year-old officer shot himself behind a Staten Island precinct.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill had issued a statement urging distraught officers to seek help.

“There is no shame in seeking assistance from the many resources available, both inside and outside the department,” the commissioner said. “Accepting help is never a sign of weakness — in fact, it’s a sign of great strength.”

The resources included in O’Neill’s statement are the Employee Assistance Unit, 646-610-6730, the Chaplain's Unit, 212-473-2363, and Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance, 888-267-7267.

With Zachary R. Dowdy and Ellen Yan

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