Officer Fatally Shoots Self In 8th NYPD Suicide This Year

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A 35-year-old police officer took his own life early Tuesday morning, marking the eighth NYPD suicide this year and the sixth since June.

Johnny Rios, a seven-year veteran of the force, was off-duty when he shot himself in the head in his Yonkers home at 3:30 a.m. Reports indicate the officer left a note and his fiancee was home at the time.

The officer was assigned to a precinct in the Bronx and often worked a detail at Yankee Stadium. 

An older brother said they had recently lost their father and Rios was reportedly friends with an officer who recently killed himself.

NYPD Chief of Department Terrence Monahan tells WNYC they are taking this seriously.

"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," he said. "We had averaged four to five suicides over the last few years, currently this year we have eight suicides. That is a very large number."

Monahan said the NYPD is looking for any commonality.

"We will look into each and every suicide," Monahan said. "There are stresses of the job, complicated by stresses that you have in your own personal life and compounded by the fact that you have a firearm on your hip," Monahan said.

Last month, Monahan and other police brass spoke publicly about the couseling and services available. He is urging any police officers with dark thoughts to seek help.

"It's alright to come and ask for help, to come forward if you have an issue in your life, that it's alright to come ask us or even go outside the agency. Get the help, if you're feeling that dark moment, get the help," Monahan told WNYC. "It's really devastating to see that it continues."

Commissioner James O'Neill insisted seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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