QUEENS, N.Y. – Multiple reports have surfaced that a sergeant within the NYPD was found shot inside his Queens apartment on Tuesday night. He was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead from his injuries.
Investigators are saying that the death appeared to be from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The department identified him as Officer Linhong Li, a 35-year-old sergeant with the force.
BREAKING: NYPD sergeant dies by suicide in Queens; 9 NYPD officers and a retired sergeant have died by suicide this year – WPIX
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) October 16, 2019
The law enforcement officer was off-duty at the time, ABC 7 NY reported. Reports noted that Li’s wife discovered him in a pool of his own blood when she came home around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. Prior to becoming an officer, Li served as a U.S. Marine and did a tour of duty in Iraq.
The sergeant becomes the 10th New York City police officer to take their own life in 2019, far surpassing the department’s yearly average.
The city has been scrambling to provide resources to their officers because of the overwhelming amount of mental health struggles and increasing rate of officer suicide. The department usually sees between four and five suicides per year, a number that is still far too high, but with recent mandates, they’re attempting to come up with a solution.
New department rules require the retention of clinicians that are trained to help the emergency responders with their mental health needs. They’re trying to get rid of the stigma that if an officer admits they are struggling – they’d be immediately fired.
The department has said that this isn’t the case – and that resources are available to those that need them.
But critics disagree. Retired NYPD detective David Chianese routinely writes editorials for LET about the New York City department.
He says the brass isn’t doing enough, saying the department is more concerned with their budget concerns than actually saving the lives of their officers.
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Their latest move? Apparently holding a secret meeting of top department officials where leaders decided to create a video to discourage suicide because it was cheap and easy.
The following is from the former detective.
One police source at the meeting, speaking on a condition of anonymity, stated he looked around at everyone while they discussed options and shot down ideas. It appeared the biggest issue was a fear of budget costs and spending too much on overtime for certain programs or in rescheduling of officers.
Always putting budget before service and dollars before brethren, a typical decision was made.
In the end, it was agreed that the department would direct a training video to combat suicide and mandate all to watch the program.
Videos don’t fix demons, they won’t cure PTSD and will not end the stigma.
Videos such as the one by the PBA yelling “Don’t fucking do it” won’t put bullets back in the barrels.
As a nation, we need to push our leaders to do more to combat the problem and bring those lost to their mental battles back to their families and friends. We need leaders to rise up and demand that the real issues that address these stigmas are dealt with.
Phone numbers won’t help someone afraid to dial and stepping forward to get grounded won’t pay the bills. We need real decisions and serious debate and I welcome 1 Police Plaza, Local Police Commander’s and Politicians to sit with my colleagues and I and make real change that works for all, including their purse strings.
That being said, we’re still dropping this contact info below just in case anyone needs it.
If you or someone you know is a member of the NYPD and are struggling, you can text “Blue” to 741741 for help. Not a cop but still in crisis? The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is a free 24-hour hotline that can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.