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Off-duty veteran NYPD cop, 56, shoots himself dead becoming ninth in police suicide crisis this year

An off-duty veteran NYPD cop who shot himself dead just a day after a fellow officer killed himself, has become the ninth fatality in a suicide crisis crippling the force.

Robert Echeverria, 56, was found by his wife in their Laurelton home in Queens, New York, with gunshot wounds, according to New York Daily News.   

She discovered him on the floor and the gun on his bed and she called 911 shortly after 6.20pm on Wednesday. 

He was rushed to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He is believed to leave behind one teenage son and a young daughter.

The officer joined the force 25 years ago and was a member of an elite team responsible for mass shootings and large protests.

‘We were supposed to see each other’s kids graduate,’ Derek Clarke, 42, who worked-out with Echeverria told the Daily News. ‘Good dude. Good-hearted father. Family man. Family man just doing his job doing his duty.’ 

His death follows that of Johnny Rios, 35, who also died from a self-inflected gunshot wound in his Shoreview Drive home in Yonkers, Westchester County, this week.

He had served in NYPD for more than 25 years and was part of a special group

Veteran NYPD cop Robert Echeverria (above), 56, was found dead after an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He had served in NYPD for more than 25 years and was part of a special group

Echeverria, 56, was found dead at his home in Laurelton, Queens, on Wednesday. He is the ninth officer from the force to lose his life to suicide this year

Echeverria, 56, was found dead at his home in Laurelton, Queens, on Wednesday. He is the ninth officer from the force to lose his life to suicide this year

Echeverria was confirmed to have died as a result of shooting himself in the head

Echeverria was confirmed to have died as a result of shooting himself in the head

Police cordoned off the area after the incident was believed to have happened on Wednesday after 6pm in Queens, New York

Police cordoned off the area after the incident was believed to have happened on Wednesday after 6pm in Queens, New York

One friend who worked with Echeverria shared his condolences (above) after the death

One friend who worked with Echeverria shared his condolences (above) after the death

One neighbor recounted that Echeverria and his family moved to the neighborhood 15 years ago. He mainly worked nights and would take his wife to work in the morning. 

‘This is heartbreaking to see a family torn apart no matter the situation,’ neighbor Brenden Betts, 23, told the Post. 

‘Mental health awareness is probably the number one critical issue not being spoken of in this city today,’ Betts added. 

The death of the officer on Wednesday marks the ninth member of NYPD to end their lives by suicide since January 2019 and the seventh since June.

A tweet from NYPD wrote: ‘We are saddened to announce that the NYPD has suffered another tragedy today with the loss of one of our officers to suicide.’ 

It was accompanied by an image detailing what officers can do if they are struggling with mental health issues including depression and suicidal thoughts. 

Queens councilman Donovan Richards described difficulties faced by NYPD as a ‘crisis’ earlier today.

‘We have to come together as a city to do everything we can to provide more services for officers who don’t want to jeopardize their career,’ he wrote in a tweet. 

The wife of Echeverria made a call to 911 after finding her husband with a visible wound in their Laurelton home (above)

The wife of Echeverria made a call to 911 after finding her husband with a visible wound in their Laurelton home (above)

Officers and other officials gathered outside the home in Laurelton after the second NYPD cop died from suicide in less than two days

Officers and other officials gathered outside the home in Laurelton after the second NYPD cop died from suicide in less than two days

Johnny Rios, 35, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on Tuesday

Johnny Rios, 35, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on Tuesday

On Wednesday Police Commissioner O’Neill and Chief Department Monahan said the force would bring in more mental health experts. 

According to data, more officers have died from suicide than in the line of duty, ABC reported.

The death today followed that of Rios, who shot himself dead at around 3.50am on Tuesday, while his fiancee was reportedly still at home.

Rios posted two images on Facebook with Precinct 50 co-worker Kevin Preiss, who also died from suicide, just a couple of days after  53-year-old Preiss’s death.

Rios had shared images of his Precinct 50 co-worker Kevin Preiss (left) recently

Rios had shared images of his Precinct 50 co-worker Kevin Preiss (left) recently

Rios wrote on Facebook: 'I LOST 2 friends in a week. Same time my dad passed'

Rios wrote on Facebook: ‘I LOST 2 friends in a week. Same time my dad passed’

He was found at home in Yonkers, New York where his partner was at the time. He is pictured with Julissa Martinez who he was excited to marry, neighbors say

He was found at home in Yonkers, New York where his partner was at the time. He is pictured with Julissa Martinez who he was excited to marry, neighbors say

His introduction on the social media website reads: ‘I LOST 2 friends in a week. Same time my dad passed away . . . Guess Lor[d] works in 3s.’

It’s unclear what friends Rios refers to but sources told the New York Daily News he was close to Preiss who was found dead inside his Long Island home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on June 26. 

New outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported that Rios left a suicide note, the contents of which have not been made public. A neighbor told the New York Post he got engaged three weeks ago and excitedly showed off the ring before he proposed.

A neighbor said he had moved into the home about three months ago. He shared the place with his partner and her two children – a 17-year-old boy and a little girl aged eight or nine.

Preiss (left), 53, was one of seven New York Police Department cops to kill themselves since June

 Preiss (left), 53, was one of seven New York Police Department cops to kill themselves since June

A neighbor said he got engaged three weeks ago and excitedly showed off the ring before he proposed

A neighbor said he got engaged three weeks ago and excitedly showed off the ring before he proposed

The officer was temporarily assigned to a detail near Yankee Stadium in The Bronx. He was off duty at the time of his death.

‘The NYPD suffered another tragedy today with the loss of another officer to suicide,’ the department tweeted late Tuesday morning. ‘To those who may be facing struggles – Help is always available, you are not alone.’ 

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted it was ‘heartbreaking’.

‘Few things are harder than seeking help,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘It’s an act of courage. I watched this struggle in my own family growing up—the difference today is that there is help. Reach out for yourself or a loved one in need.’ 

On June 14, Police Officer Michael Caddy, 29, died after shooting himself in the head inside a car parked on a Staten Island street, behind the 121st Precinct.

Deputy Chief Steven Silks, 62, was found dead in a police vehicle in Queens on June 5, a month before his mandatory retirement and having spent 38 years on the force.

The next day, NYPD officers found the body of missing detective, Joseph Calabrese, 58, at a Brooklyn beach. He had been on the force for 37 years.

The New York Police Department officer who was the eighth to take his own life this year

Rios is pictured

 The New York Police Department officer who was the eighth to take his own life this year

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted it was 'heartbreaking' after the NYPD confirmed on Tuesday that a police officer assigned to The Bronx took his own life

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted it was ‘heartbreaking’ after the NYPD confirmed on Tuesday that a police officer assigned to The Bronx took his own life

Police say both died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill released a statement in June calling on the department to ‘end the crisis together’.

‘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.’

Officer Kevin Preiss, 53, a veteran cop assigned to the Bronx, was found dead at his home on Long Island with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on June 26

On June 14, Police Officer Michael Caddy, 29, died after shooting himself in the head inside a car parked on a Staten Island street

Officer Kevin Preiss, 53 (left), a veteran cop assigned to the Bronx, was found dead at his home on Long Island with a self-inflicted gunshot on June 26. On June 14, Police Officer Michael Caddy, 29, (right) died after shooting himself in Staten Island  

This latest suicide - the NYPD's eighth so far this year - comes two weeks after Sgt Terrance McAvoy, 30, killed himself with a shotgun blast in Staten Island

This latest suicide – the NYPD’s eighth so far this year – comes two weeks after Sgt Terrance McAvoy, 30, killed himself with a shotgun blast in Staten Island  

On July 27, newly promoted Sgt. Terrance McAvoy, 30, formerly a transit officer, killed himself with a shotgun blast inside his Staten Island home. He was off duty at the time. 

At least 167 officers died by suicide in 2018. More than 100 officers have so far taken their lives in 2019, according to Blue HELP, a Massachusetts-based organization devoted to preventing police suicides.

In a video shared by Chief Monahan from June, he told officers ‘this is something that needs to be spoken about.’

Speaking of the toll on officers due to the stress of the job, he said: ‘Our men and women run into danger every single day. 

‘We run into gunfire, we put our lives on the line for others that we don’t know, the least we can do is have a conversation to save one of our own.’ 

For confidential support in the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

For support on suicide matters in the UK, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

In Australia, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Deputy Chief Steven Silks, 62, was found dead in a police vehicle in Queens on June 5

On June 6, police found 37-year NYPD veteran Joseph Calabrese, 58, dead in Brooklyn

Deputy Chief Steven Silks, 62, was found dead in a police vehicle in Queens on June 5. On June 6, police found 37-year NYPD veteran Joseph Calabrese, 58, dead in Brooklyn

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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