Officer Fatally Shoots Self In Queens Home In 9th NYPD Suicide This Year

UPDATED 9:32 A.M. on August 15, 2019

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A veteran NYPD officer has died by suicide at his home in Queens.

He is the second officer to kill himself this week; the seventh since June and ninth this year.

The NYPD says they are saddened by the tragedy. 

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

The department says support is available to anyone who may be struggling and resources are available. That includes the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance -- a volunteer police support network.

The Daily News reports the 56-year-old officer's wife found him on the floor with his gun on the bed. She called 911 from the couple's Laurelton home around 6:20 p.m. Wednesday. Robert Echeverria — a father of two — reportedly had 25 years of service with the NYPD and was assigned to the Elite Strategic Response Group.

The tragedy comes a day after a 35-year-old police officer fatally shot himself in his Yonkers home.

"We look at this is there a contagion, this is something that psychologists and psychiatrists talk about when one happens, that there may be more," Chief of Department Terrence Monahan told WNYC Tuesday. 

Earlier this summer, Commissioner James O'Neill talked about the inense pressures of the job.

"This is an extremely difficult job. It's not an ordinary job. People face a lot of stresses. They are exposed to a lot of trauma," O'Neill said.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said when he retired from the force after 22 years, he turned to meditation to deal with his undiagnosed PTSD.

“We are losing members of New York’s Finest to this epidemic faster than we can count, and we need to address it immediately," Adams stated. "I, along with the PBA, am calling on Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill to implement training for officers on meditation and mindfulness practices, the same way we train them to use weapons. Police departments across the country are beginning to introduce mindfulness practices to help their members. It’s time we do the same.”

In a bid to stem suicides in New Jersey, plans were announced last week to train a resiliency officer in every department.

The following resources are available for officers in need of help:
  • Employee Assistance Unit: 646-610-6730
  • Chaplains Unit: 212-473-2363
  • POPPA (independent from the NYPD): 888-267-7267
  • NYC WELL: Text, call, & chat
  • Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: Law enforcement officers can text BLUE to 741741 (non-law enforcement can text TALK to 741741)
  • Call 911 for emergencies
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)