[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reeling after the deaths of four “beloved” active and retired officers.
In an email statement to KTLA on Tuesday, LA County Sheriff Robert Luna addressed a jaw-dropping report that has shocked the community: within 24 hours, four officers died, all said to be by suicide. Luna did not confirm the manners of death, but multiple anonymous sources suggested to the LA Times that suicide was the consistent factor among the four fallen men.
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The first was discovered on Monday at around 10:30 a.m. in Valencia, and just two hours later another was found in Lancaster. Later that same evening at 5:40 p.m., LASD detectives discovered a third deputy in Stevenson Ranch, while the fourth was found on Tuesday at around 7:30 a.m. in Pomona. The outlet reported one of the victims was 25-year vet Commander Darren Harris, who was allegedly discovered with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, while another was Sergeant Greg Hovland.
How utterly confounding. FOUR deaths by suicide in just 24 hours?? We know these types of self-harm incidents tend to cluster in families, but in a single day??
Luna wrote in his statement:
“We are stunned to learn of these deaths, and it has sent shockwaves of emotions throughout the department as we try and cope with the loss of not just one, but four beloved active and retired members of our department family. During trying times like these it’s important for personnel regardless of rank or position to check on the well-being of other colleagues and friends. I have the deepest concern for our employees’ well-being, and we are urgently exploring avenues to reduce work stress factors to support our employees’ work and personal lives.”
The deaths are being investigated by homicide detectives and the County of Los Angeles Medical Examiner. As of now, authorities — believe it or not — do NOT believe they’re related! However, retired Santa Monica police officer Cristina Coria alluded to what sounds like a mental health crisis within the force that isn’t being addressed. She told Fox 11 on Wednesday:
“There are so many officers that I know that have talked about committing suicide that I never thought in a million years would think about it or talk about it. There are so many officers out there that are struggling with their identity, with finances, with relationship problems, with addictions to pain meds, addiction to alcohol, you name it. There are so many things going on, that our departments are not reaching out to them [struggling officers] enough.”
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Wow. The LASD added that its Psychological Services Bureau and the Injury and Health Support Unit are providing support to the families of the victims. We hope everyone gets some answers soon.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Consider contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, by calling, texting, or chatting, or go to 988lifeline.org
[Images via FOX 11 Los Angeles/YouTube]