The NYPD is in mourning after a Bronx police officer shot himself in the head. The 35-year-old was a seven-year veteran of the force and left a note for his loved ones before taking his own life.
According to The New York Daily News, it was about 3:30 AM Tuesday (Aug. 14) when Johnny Rios killed himself. His girlfriend was also home.
News of Rios’ death is especially tragic as his close friend and fellow officer Kevin Preiss shot himself to death inside his Long Island home. Rios’ death is the eighth NYPD suicide in 2019, and the fourth which occurred in June.
Neighbor Robin Granger, 58, said he heard someone yell “No!” three times before the shot. A moment later Granger tells The Daily News she heard a loud wail.
“She heard the gunshot and she heard somebody screaming “Noooo,” so I looked out her window,” Granger said. “I see the cops are all outside.”
Preiss, 53, like his Rios, also worked in The Bronx and shot himself in the head. Two days after Preiss’ shooting, Rios posted photos of him on social media. The two worked together in the 50th precinct and were close friends.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan discussed Rios’ death during a radio interview shortly after it was made public.
“Currently we have eight this year. That is a very large number,” Monahan said. “We want to let our cops know that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s really devastating to see that it continues.” (including) last night.”
Monahan said officers have a difficult time finding professional therapy because of their type of insurance. Attempting to set up a counseling session has proven challenging since a cop’s schedule isn’t set.
“We’re bringing in outside resources to talk to the cops,” Monahan said. “We’re looking to make a lot of changes within the organization itself. We looking at bringing peer counselors into the (commands). We’re looking to hire a lot more counselors and psychologists.”