Sergeant Fatally Shoots Self In 12th NYPD Suicide This Year

WCBS 880 Newsroom
October 16, 2019 - 7:45 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A police sergeant became the latest member of the NYPD to take his or her own life this year.

Sources say Sergeant Linhong Li shot himself in the head at his home in Queens, where his wife found him Tuesday night.

He was assigned to the 24th precinct in Manhattan.

Twelve total active and retired officers of the force have taken their lives this year.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill has declared the NYPD is facing a “mental health crisis."

All year long, the NYPD has been reaching out to officers encouraging them to seek help if they needed it.

CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues reports what New York City is experiencing is part of a nationwide trend in policing. The non-profit Blue H.E.L.P. reports there have been 169 officers who have died by suicide since January.

Among the general population, studies show 13 out of every 100,000 people will die by suicide — it's 17 in 100,000 for police officers. 

Dr. Frank Dowling of Stony Brook University, who assists police officers dealing with mental health stress, fears the surge in NYPD suicides, which hasn't been seen since the mid-1990's when 26 officers took their own lives over a two-year period, indicates a sort of contagion effect.

"We do see it at times with law enforcement that if one kills themselves then there could be others who may be depressed, may be struggling, may have thoughts of killing themselves and now the unthinkable is now thinkable and very real because someone in their police family has just done that," Dowling said.

Support and resources are available to any law enforcement officer who may be struggling. That includes the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance – a volunteer police support network.

Officers can also text the word “blue” to 741741 to talk to someone.

The following resources are also 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 www.nyc.gov/nycwell
  • 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