Off-duty NYPD officer dies by suicide

The death of Sgt. Linhong Li marked the tenth NYPD officer suicide this year


John Annese, Thomas Tracy and Leonard Greene
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — An NYPD sergeant fatally shot himself in his Queens home Tuesday, the 10th city cop to die by suicide this year.

Sources said the wife of off-duty Sgt. Linhong Li found him in their home around 9:30 p.m. and called 911.

Medics rushed him to Jamaica Hospital, where he died.

Li was assigned to the 24th Precinct on the Upper West Side, police sources said.

His death comes roughly two months after two officers, Johnny Rios, 35, and Robert Echeverria, 56, fatally shot themselves within a day of each other in their homes.

The grim death toll has rattled the department, and the NYPD has retooled its response to department suicides, encouraging all officers to seek mental health counseling if they have suicidal thoughts.

A survey of recently retired cops reveals that 44 out of 174 — about 25% — suffered enough stress to consider getting help at least once in their careers, but just two-thirds of them actually followed through, according to a report last month from the NYPD’s inspector general, Philip Eure.

Eure recommended the department look at whether it should require mandatory periodic mental health checks for all officers, or for categories of at-risk officers.

Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch voiced strong words on the subject over the summer telling officers in a video post, ”Don’t f----- do it!"

“It solves nothing and leaves devastation behind you,” Lynch said in an emotional August video. “Just don’t do it.”

Mayor de Blasio made his own emotional appeal at the time, invoking the memory of his own father, who killed himself when de Blasio was 18.

“There is no feeling worse than wanting to help someone and not knowing how,” the mayor wrote in a letter to the rank-and-file. “No matter how strong or tough you are, or how difficult it may be to accept, you always deserve help when you need it. The City of New York supports you.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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