A San Diego police sergeant who was arrested for allegedly soliciting a minor for sex was found dead from an apparent suicide inside his apartment Monday, police say.
Authorities found the body of Sgt. Joseph Ruvido, 49, inside his Carmel Valley apartment at 4:24 p.m. on Monday after he failed to show up in court for his 1:30 p.m. arraignment, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said at a press conference Monday night, NBC San Diego reports.
A 21-year veteran of the force, Ruvido was arrested on July 26 and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor after he allegedly set up a meeting with a minor — or a person he thought was a minor — for sexual purposes and then followed through by coming to the arranged meeting, say police, the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune report.
He was also arrested on suspicion of attempting to commit lewd acts with a child between the ages of 14 and 15, the outlets report.
Following his arrest, he was suspended without pay and had his police powers removed, Nisleit said.
He posted $100,000 bail on July 27.
On Monday, when he failed to show up for court and a $150,000 bench warrant was issued for his arrest, officers went to his home to locate him when they couldn’t reach him by phone, Nisleit said.
When Ruvido failed to answer the door, “the decision was made to force entry into his apartment,” Nisleit said.
Once inside, he said, “officers found him deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. All signs, all indications are that this is a suicide,” Nisleit said.
Authorities do not know exactly when he died, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
“There are limited details at this time,” he said, adding that investigators are still looking for additional information and potential child victims.
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When a reporter asked the chief if the apparent suicide spoke to Ruvido’s “guilt or innocence,” he declined to answer, saying that the investigation is new and still open.
“Like many of you, I too, have many questions that remain unanswered,” he said.
Ruvido’s arrest came several weeks after the department received a tip on a Crime Stoppers line that identifies people soliciting sex from minors, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Ruvido was put under 24-hour surveillance as authorities “fully” investigated the allegations, Nisleit said.
At the time of Ruvido’s arrest, Nisleit said he was embarrassed by the allegations against the sergeant.
“Today I stand here as a very disappointed and embarrassed police chief who has to announce the arrest of one of our own,” he said at a press conference on July 27, NBC San Diego reported.
“I fully understand the actions of Sgt. Ruvido tarnished the badge and this department and this profession,” he said.
Ruvido lived alone, was single and had no children, Nisleit said.
Asked how Ruvido will be remembered and whether he would receive honors for his funeral, the chief replied, “That’s a tough question. He was a San Diego Police Officer for 21 years.”
“We don’t condone what he is accused of, obviously, but he was still a member of this department,” Nisleit said. “As far as a funeral for him, that will be decided by the family.”
Ruvido’s last assignment was as a sergeant in the watch commander’s office at police headquarters. Before that, he was a patrol sergeant.