The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is in turmoil after one former and three current deputies killed themselves in a 24 period.
A fifth deputy was shot in an apparent suicide attempt also in the same time period. Investigators claim the four deaths and one suicide attempt within 24 hours are unrelated.
One of the officers shot himself in the chest with his own service weapon, according to police. All five officers lived or worked within minutes of each other.
Department officials refused to name the three men and one woman who died, but their names have been reported in the news media.
“Out of respect for their grieving families we will not be disclosing the names of the employees at this time,” an LASD statement said.
LASD sources speaking to the LA Times on condition of anonymity said the deceased included Commander Darren Harris and Sergeant Gregory Hovland.
Harris, 56, died from a gunshot wound to the head at his residence Monday morning. Hovland, 67, died from a gunshot wound to the chest at his residence on Monday. Hovland was retired from the LASD.
The third deceased deputy was a 60-year-old female who worked at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. The fourth officer worked at the North County Correctional Facility in the maximum-security portion of the Pitchess jail, SVCS reported. He died from a gunshot wound around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at a hospital in Ponoma.
Department officials refused to answer questions Monday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Information Bureau referred media requests to the Homicide Bureau, which did not respond to requests for comment from a reporter.
The four deaths bring the number of LA Sheriff’s Department employee suicides to eight this year, according to the LA Times.
Officers who work in smaller, understaffed departments are more at risk for suicide than other officers as psychological services are usually not available, according to the LA Times.