Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

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QUEENS, NY – Sometimes they’ve seen too much.

An NYPD officer identified as Richard Catapano shot himself in the head at about 1:50 a.m. this morning.

The shooting was witnessed by a friend and his girlfriend, with whom he had been arguing. He was discovered later in the hallway of his apartment building, critically wounded. He was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital but died hours later.

His death is being investigated as a suicide. His girlfriend was seen sobbing outside their apartment hours after the incident.

Catapano is the third NYPD officer to commit suicide this year. In 2019, ten officers committed suicide.

There have been 102 law enforcement suicides reported nationwide in 2020.

In 2019, there were 228, 174 in 2018, 172 in 2017, and 143 in 2016.

John Petrullo is the director of the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance (POPPA). The group is run by volunteers from within law enforcement, active and retired. Their goal is to help officers “in turmoil”, to bring them back from the brink so they may return to the fulfilling lives they were meant to lead.

Petrullo stayed with the group after retirement due to the number of officers who told him their lives had been saved by their efforts.

The stresses of working in law enforcement, particularly in these times, are no small thing. Officers are constantly threatened, abused, harassed, and maligned while performing their duties. T

heir duty is to protect and serve their communities. They do it, and do it with love for the people around them.

Their fellow citizens appreciate their work in no small numbers. Their help as police officers make communities safer, their good example makes communities stronger, their strength in the face of adversity is inspiring.

Their compassion for those who need help, even among those they arrest, is one of the most beautiful things any person could have the pleasure to witness. A good heart is a great thing. Among the men and women working in law enforcement, good hearts are in no short supply.

It is a pity that elected officials in New York, like mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo, have no understanding of the essential goodness that leads someone to choose a career in law enforcement.

Instead of crediting them for the good work they do, they have seized on every scurrilous rumor of misconduct as an excuse for a photo op and a press conference.

Their actions, and the actions of politicians like them across the country, cannot be good for morale among law enforcement officers. Morale, when it comes to suicide, is exactly what is missing, and in some cases robbed, from men and women of dignity and compassion.

You can give morale to someone else with a kind word, a kick in the pants, or meaningful help. It’s yours to give, yours to keep, and for no one to take away. Don’t let anyone do that to you or anyone else. 

The circumstances of officer Catapano’s death cannot be known until an investigation is complete. What is known is that a brother in blue is down and we mourn the loss. More than that, we also know that one down is one too many. Support is there for officers who need it. 

If you know of someone who needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For assistance in Spanish, you can call 1-888-628-9454

There’s a new national organization to support the survivors of law enforcement suicides

Law enforcement suicides are on the rise. In 2019, over 140 officers died in the line of duty and over 220 officers were self-reported as having died by suicide.  This is too many officers lost in one year. 

Families of officers who die by suicide are left with so many unanswered questions and feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and guilt.  They often feel stigmatized by the way their officer died. Because of this they often suffer in silence and alone. Survivors of Blue Suicide (SBS) will bring these families and co-workers together to support each other. 

Who better to understand what they are going through than those who have suffered similar losses. 

SBS with offer survivor specific weekend retreats that will provide a platform for suicide survivors to meet other survivors and to share their stories, laugh and cry together, attend sessions on grief and hope and participate in group activities. 

Together they will find comfort and establish lifelong friendships; friendships that will be there when they need a shoulder to cry on or when they want to share something good.

We are excited to introduce Survivors of Blue Suicide Foundation, Inc.(SBS) an organization empowered by Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)  to support families and co-workers of law enforcement officers who die by suicide. 

SBS will be modeled after C.O.P.S., who for over 35 years has been providing support for families and co-workers of officers who have died in the line of duty. 

The Foundation will host a National Law Enforcement Officer Suicide Memorial Service and Candlelight Vigil in conjunction with a National Law Enforcement Suicide Survivors’ Conference in Sept 2021.  These events will bring survivors together to honor their fallen and provide an opportunity to meet other survivors.

If you are a family member, co-worker, agency or organization please visit our website at https://www.survivorsofbluesuicide.org/ and register with Survivors of Blue Suicide Foundation, Inc. to connect with other survivors and stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

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There’s a fight to save America – and Law Enforcement Today is in. Here’s what you can do to join us.

The below editorial is brought to you by Law Enforcement Today’s National Spokesman Kyle S. Reyes.  

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Saturday morning.  July 4th.  I’m sitting at the kitchen counter … and I get a text from one of my writers.

“There’s a story in – give it another set of eyes and then publish it.  But I should warn you… it’s tough.”

Saturday morning.  July 4th.  I’m sitting at the kitchen counter … with my little girls running all around me… and I’m crying.

A big, tough, power-lifting, bacon-eating, God-fearing, gun-shooting man who doesn’t cry… and I’ve got tears streaming down my face.

Because a young dad was shot and killed in the line of duty.  At home is his wife and his toddler.  A little baby who will grow up without a daddy.

And his last words can be heard in the recording with dispatch (below): “Tell my family I love them.”

I’ve become incredibly close with more survivors than I care to think about.  Wonderful people – wives, husbands, kids, parents… who have lost their officer in the line of duty.

I’ve interviewed them.  I’ve held them.  I’ve prayed with them.

To me… this is the world I now live in.

I’m blessed to run a successful marketing agency that works with some of the most patriotic companies in America.  And you want know the truth?  I’m so glad it largely runs itself… because THIS is where my heart is.

We get all of the emails – the good, the bad and the ugly.  

The “thank you for saving my life by sharing that story” email.

The “you’re a bunch of Nazis and we’re going to burn down your house and kill everyone you know” emails.

And then we get to hop on social media and see uneducated “friends” and “family members” running their mouths about “the systematic racism of policing”.  (Spoiler alert: you’ve been fed a lie.  Here’s the proof.)

And we fight on – every single day.  Because while companies across America are pandering to the lies being spewed by Black Lives Matter – in many cases because they are too spineless to step up and speak up – we are here to give a voice to those who don’t have one.

How You Can Join The Fight

We are hiring new writers every single day.  Most are active, retired or wounded law enforcement along with their families and supporters.

We are turning tremendous amounts of new content out daily – from written stories to video interviews.  

Transparently – we never took in outside money, investors or anything like that.  Our founder is an active police officer.  This was all self-funded and remains a labor of love for us.

The advertising dollars that come in allow us to hire more officers.  To help supplement that and scale, we launched LET Unity.  It’s basically our “Netflix” for law enforcement… and allows us to get out video interviews with some amazing heroes without social media censoring them.

The revenue we generate goes back into helping bring in more of those writers to tell more of these stories.  More on that below… but I hope you’ll consider signing up and joining us.

Speaking of social media censorship… it’s happening more and more.  That’s why we do two things kind of obnoxiously:

  1. Encourage you to sign up for our newsletter so we can send you the ACTUAL uncensored news.
  2. Follow us on Facebook and then add us to your “favorites” by clicking “following” and then clicking “favorites” (image below).  It helps make sure that you actually see our stories on Facebook.
    Facebook favorites
    Facebook favorites

     

  3. Sign a flag.  Some of you are probably here because you heard about us in the media.  For those of you who were looking for more information on the traveling Thin Blue Line flags… here it is:  
They demanded we take down our Thin Blue Line flag. So we got a bigger one - and that's not all.
They demanded we take down our Thin Blue Line flag. So we got a bigger one – and that’s not all.

“Take down that racist flag or we’ll take it down for you.”

That was the first threat we got about the Thin Blue Line flag in our Law Enforcement Today studio in Connecticut.

It was among a string of nasty emails and threats.

“Ya’ll a bunch of bootlickers.”

and

“We don’t need that flag – we need more dead cops.”

and 

“Keep waving that flag.  It lets us know who to put out of business.”

and 

“FTP 4EVA take that garbage down RITE NOW.”

So… we decided we’re going to take it down.  But it’s not what you might think. 

It’ll be coming down when the new one goes up – and it’s much, much bigger… and even more patriotic.

We’ve partnered up with our friends at Thin Blue Line USA.

They sent us the absolute largest thin blue line flag that they make.  And we’re going to be sending it all over the country to police departments for officers across America to sign.

We announced it on Instagram yesterday… but we weren’t expecting what came next.

Within hours, more than a hundred police departments from across the country reached out asking to take part.  And we quickly realized that the biggest flag in America isn’t going to be big enough.

So we’re getting more…  and they’ll travel all across America, being signed by police officers as a show of unity and support.

Once a department finishes getting it signed, they’ll pass it along to the next department on the list.

Once the flags are all full, we’ll be sending one to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) to fly at the National Headquarters.  We’ll be sending one to President Trump at The White House.  And the rest will hang proud at our studios in Connecticut over The Whiskey Wall.

For those of you not familiar with “The Whiskey Wall”, it’s a wall of stories.

The Whiskey Wall

Active and retired emergency responders and veterans bring a bottle of whiskey.  We sit and share a cocktail and on camera, they tell you a story about a good day on the job and a lousy day on the job.  Then their name goes on the bottle and the bottle goes on the wall.

The video below is a little taste of what the series looks like.

 

We want to be perfectly clear about where we stand at Law Enforcement Today.  We will not pander.  We will not cave.  We are unashamed to be pro-law enforcement.  And anyone who has a problem with that can kiss our American asses.

If your department wants to be a part of it, email us at [email protected]  Note: the flags will only be shipped directly to departments.  Once your officers are done signing it, we’ll want a picture to share with America… then you’ll need to ship it to the next agency.  Be a part of this national movement and help us declare that enough is enough.

I feel like not a single day goes by where I’m not shaking my head… wondering what the heck happened to my country.  Trying to figure out how the loudest, rudest, nastiest people in our country suddenly got corporate America and millions of citizens to absolutely pander to them.

Let’s face it – we’ve been dealing with this “politically correct” garbage for years.  We’ve all been walking on eggshells, trying desperately not to offend people.

And guess what?  It wasn’t good enough.  So why are we even going to bother trying?

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve learned that the following things apparently make me a racist:

  • Drinking milk
  • Playing chess
  • Listening to country music
  • Drinking American beer
  • Eating red meat
  • Being Christian
  • Being a white male
  • Voting for President Trump 
  • Having an American flag in our yard
  • Having a thin blue line bumper sticker on my car

Here’s the thing.  I ABSOLUTELY believe we should judge people.  But I don’t believe we should judge them based on what they look like – we should judge them on how they act.

If they are jerks, they should be called out.  If they are criminals, they should be arrested.  If they are corrupt politicians, they should be removed from office.

But we’re dealing with a country that’s so upside down that we are told you shouldn’t judge someone by the color of their skin (agreed, for the record), but you should judge them based on their job (police officers).

I watched a guy literally almost killed because he said “white lives matter” (true) by white people holding up “black lives matter” signs (which is also true).  And yet we’re supposed to just ignore the hypocrisy of that, because if we don’t, we’re apparently racist.

Yeah, process that – and you’ll realize I’m right.  It’s dumb.  

Now we’ve got Live PD and COPS taken off the air, because God-forbid they show the dumpster fire that police officers deal with every single day.

I’m sick of it.  And I know you are as well.

So we’re stepping up to fill the void – because, quite frankly, someone has to.  And it seems as if far too many people these days lack the intestinal fortitude to do anything that SOMEONE in this world might take offense to.

You’ve probably heard about LET Unity.  

We launched it last year to bring civilians and civil servants together.  To tell the stories behind the uniforms.  And, quite frankly, to show you the stories and videos that were regularly being shut down on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

We’re doubling down.  

 

If companies are going to be too afraid to show their support for law enforcement, we’ll do it for them.  And we’ll continue to bring together a community of supporters.

Most of our writers are either active or retired law enforcement.  We have contributors who were shot, stabbed and run over in the line of duty… along with their loved ones and supporters.

The revenue Law Enforcement Today generates helps to support them and helps to continue to give a voice to officers who are being attacked and silenced across America.

Over the coming months, we’ll be launching a new series of video content showing the actual challenges that law enforcement officers around the country face.  We are unapologetically pro-law enforcement and we are looking for others who feel the same as us… but can’t be as vocal.

If you’re wondering the kind of stories we feature… here’s a look at some of what you’ve missed – and some of what’s to come.

The first officer in the door at the Pulse nightclub shooting. 

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

Emergency responders from the Parkland shooting. 

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

The bomb squad that responded to the Aurora movie theater massacre. 

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

Survivors of the Dallas five killings.

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

The first Marine Guard hostage in the Iran crisis. 

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

The CIA agent who started a counter human trafficking company. 

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

SWAT teams. 

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

Sniper schools. 

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

World War II veterans.

Off-duty NYPD officer shoots himself in the head in front of friend, girlfriend at his Queens home

And so, so much more.

The membership is less than the cost of two coffees a month, and those who sign up for an annual membership will get some surprise bonuses in the mail.  We decided to charge a nominal fee so we could take the proceeds and reinvest them into capturing more of these stories. 

Yes – it was free to watch Live PD and COPS.  And look at how that turned out once the networks caved to police haters.

The revenue we make helps provide for officers and their families and helps bring a TRUE voice about what’s happening in America.

We have a problem in society.  Censorship has created an existential threat to democracy.  But even worse is the risk we run that some of these incredible stories of patriotism, hope, faith and our Sheepdogs would be lost.

We hope you’ll join us in this journey, knowing that your membership is going to give a voice to those who have been silenced for so long.

Click here to sign up. 

We are battling over the very soul of our country. We are fighting for our families. And we’re on the brink of losing America.

Think about this for a minute.

While you were fighting over who among you was more “woke” and which company to boycott … we lost our country.

While you were arguing with coworkers over who would leave the country first if Trump/Biden were elected, the “American Dream” perished.

Don’t believe me? Then perhaps ALL is lost. And I can prove it all to you through the eyes of a child.

The screens around our house in the past couple of weeks stand in stark contrast to what’s in front of them.

The television … the laptops … the iPads … the cell phones … filled with images of the riots.  The violence.  The hatred.  

Just a few months ago, when everyone was working from home – or unemployed – signs were put up around the community thanking police.  People cheered and put out Tweets and Facebook images of first responders doing “birthday parades” for little kids.

Now, angry Americans are taking over police departments, shooting cops, pelting them with bricks and bottles of urine and demanding that we abolish them.  The images are on certain channels – others ensure you just see the “peaceful protestors”.

Broadcast on the same tv stations are the sounds of tone-deaf leaders. Of anger. Of hatred. Of hurt. Of fear.  Of race-baiting, dividing rhetoric and alienation.

In front of those screens run our little daughters.

They are the greatest blessings a young family can have.  Filled with innocence, love, joy and our hopes for the future.

What brought a lull in that media noise?

Hearing our pastor give a sermon.

He usually preaches about love. Faith. Hope. But there was a different dynamic in this message.

There was a different energy.

This time, he talked about the end of times.

He’s far from being an alarmist. Just the opposite. But this particular service, he spoke deeply and heavily about being prepared. “For we know not the hour … ”

He wasn’t trying to frighten people. But he also understood that he couldn’t be tone-deaf to the deep concerns of his flock.

It’s hard not to be afraid. It’s hard not to have an underlying anxiety. It’s hard not to wonder and pray over whether your children will have the same opportunities you did.

Growing up, I paid close attention in history class. And I’ve always felt a very deep sense of patriotism. I’ve always felt great respect for my country and believed that if, God forbid, we ever faced World War III, America would once again triumph.

Perhaps my fear, and the anxiety of so many others, is that we were wrong.

We were wrong because of one simple line that I believe may have been written wrong. It should have read, “One Nation, Divisible After All.”

Have we ever faced a time when our country was so polarized? Have we ever faced enemies so dangerous? Have we ever been on such a precipice that a frightening and painful energy radiated through each of us, tying us together in some disturbing, unifying, powerful and yet simultaneously divisive way?

I’m angered to see that we live in a country where we have gone soft. We’ve become hypocrites, and we’ve become pansies.

We forget that our grandfathers stormed beaches to protect freedom. Instead, we demand that the freedom now come in the form of a shelter from hearing words we don’t like.

Our friends and family alienate us because of who we vote for.

We try and put companies out of business because how DARE they not support the Marxist organization Black Lives Matter.

We doxx people and put their families in danger because they dare to support law enforcement.

We don’t question it when ‘leaders’ tell us to stay away from church.  Stay away from family.  Stay away from friends.  Wear a mask.  Don’t worry about not having a job.  And we don’t bat an eye as the country rapidly marches – or rather sprints – towards the socialism that’s the destruction of a nation.

We give out trophies to kids who come in 8th place. Eighth freaking place.  And then we let them take over part of an entire city – Seattle – and play house, allowing rapes and murders to happen in the city while police are kept out.

We dig up the graves of people who have been dead for a hundred-plus years because they had something to do with the Confederate flag, and that offends someone NOW.  Then we destroy statues and give “get out of jail free” passes to the people who did it.  LITERALLY get out of jail free passes.  We have celebrities and politicians starting funds to bail criminals out of prison.

We allow politicians to hijack the country and spend our tax dollars chasing their personal agenda of impeaching a President simply because they don’t like him.  Then we have the party that’s supposedly the same as the President who sit around silently while the country burns. It seems as if both parties forgot what they were supposed to be doing and whom they are supposed to be representing.

We pick sides and parties and teams and defend them to the ends of the Earth, ignoring the facts, pointing the fingers and hoping someone else will cover the cost of our skyrocketing and borderline pointless health insurance.

We talk about the number of homeless vets who we have to feed and clothe and house when it’s convenient for us to leverage them like pawns in a game – yet tomorrow, so many will forget to feed and clothe and house them.

We ignore the simple facts about our dangerously open borders and the lack of a vetting process for refugees, then we stand in horror as ISIS attacks and we ask our politicians how they could have let this happen. And then, of course, we put a fast lane in for more to cross the border.

We put in place more gun laws to prevent the bad guys from doing bad things. Because for some reason, we believe that bad guys give a damn about laws and that giving them an open shooting range on a military base or school campus will somehow protect our citizens. But then we completely ignore the massive problem of mental health in this country. We’re more worried about the tool than we are the person.

Hell – not only do we ignore the problem of mental health – we double down on it but crashing our economy, putting millions out of work and then confine them to their homes.

We cry out that police are our enemies … and then we beg them to protect us from the likes of ISIS.

We are talking about DEFUNDING police while telling them that they do a lousy job training.  Because the solution to that is making sure they have less money, right?

We have a massive audience talking about ABOLISHING police.

Let that sink in.

We celebrate court rulings with rainbow flags that speak volumes about how far we’ve come and how inclusive we are as Americans … then we tell our neighbors to remove their American flags and stop saying “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” because it offends us.

We send billions of dollars overseas to help the homeless in impoverished and war-torn nations while we cut the funding for our own food banks and homeless programs.

We get into fistfights about “under-inflated balls” while gorging ourselves on beer and wings at football games … while millions of Americans wonder how they’re going to pay their mortgage and put food on the table for their families.

We fight tooth and nail over whether someone dying of stage four pancreatic cancer should be allowed to use medical marijuana while drugs like heroin are running rampant in our schools.

Schools that apparently kids will have to wear masks in, if they ever reopen.

We teach kids that there should be no boys section or girls section at the store, but our kids notice that we won’t sit down with our neighbor for a beer because they have a different skin color and we’re too busy fighting over what is and isn’t racism.

We hold massive rallies demanding $15/hour for flipping burgers … but we sit quietly on the sidelines when our men and women protecting our country who make $11/hour aren’t getting paid because Congress is debating their funding.

We’re told if you go to a protest over the government shutting down your business, you’ll be arrested because it’s a health threat.  We’re told if you go to a Trump rally, you don’t care about making people sick.  We’re told if you go to a violent riot and torch buildings, you’re a social justice warrior.

We’re terribly focused on what matters to us as individuals. Marriage. Cell phones. Birth control. On and on and on. We’re so worried about what matters to “me” that we forgot that in order for us to have a “me” … we have to first have an “us.” A safe “us.” A unified “us.” An “us” that can at least find some kind of middle ground.

Tomorrow is a new day. So tonight, before bed, we pray … just a little harder, perhaps, than we’ve prayed before.

We put our daughters to sleep and shut off the television. The internet. The phones. The iPads. All screens but the black and white monitor where we can see nothing but innocence.

And for a moment, just one fleeting, precious moment, we’re once again one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

We hope you’ll join us in this journey, knowing that your membership is going to give a voice to those who have been silenced for so long.

Click here to sign up. 

We will not be silenced.  You shouldn’t be either.

God bless you all, and God bless America.

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
 
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