LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department suffered four suicide deaths in a 24-hour period. The deaths include three current members of the department and one retiree. The department “is beyond saddened to learn of the deaths,” officials said Tuesday in a news statement.
Although the sheriff’s department did not identify the employees or specifically say the deaths were self-inflicted, the Los Angeles Times cited multiple sources who confirmed the suicides.
The first deceased person was found Monday at around 10:30 a.m. in Valencia. At 12:53 p.m. LASD detectives responded to another death in Lancaster. A third tragedy was discovered about 5:40 p.m. in Stevenson Ranch, while the fourth suicide was discovered Tuesday at approximately 7:30 a.m. in the city of Pomona, KTLA reported.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the tragic news has left the agency “stunned.”
“We are stunned to learn of these deaths, and it has sent shockwaves of emotions throughout the department as we try and cope with the loss of not just one, but four beloved active and retired members of our department family,” said Luna.
One of the deceased individuals was 25-year career veteran Cmdr. Darren Harris, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday morning, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing its sources. Sgt. Greg Hovland (retired) was found dead hours later.
“During trying times like these it’s important for personnel regardless of rank or position to check on the well-being of other colleagues and friends,” Luna said in his press statement. “I have the deepest concern for our employees’ well-being, and we are urgently exploring avenues to reduce work stress factors to support our employees’ work and personal lives.”
Each of the four deaths is being investigated by homicide detectives and the County of Los Angeles Medical Examiner, the department noted in its news release.
Families of the deceased LASD members are provided support and resources by the Psychological Services Bureau, KTLA noted.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with severe depression or suicidal thoughts, help is available by calling the nationwide mental health crisis hotline by dialing 9-8-8 on your phone.