Cop Takes His Own Life During Training on Sex Trafficking

Andri Tambunan/AFP via Getty Images
Andri Tambunan/AFP via Getty Images

An Alabama sheriff’s deputy took his own life this week in the middle of a police training event on sex trafficking, local authorities say.

The Fultondale Police Department said a deputy from another county had “committed suicide in the parking lot” of the event center on Thursday. The Elmore County Sheriff’s Office identified the deputy as one of their own, Stephen Sims, a father of four.

Sims, 43, had reportedly taken a lunch break with three colleagues and once they returned, everyone but Sims exited the vehicle, and then they heard a gunshot ring out. Sims was then found shot dead in the back of his vehicle, with a coroner later determining the wound was self-inflicted.

Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin told local outlet WVTM he was shocked by Sims’ death. Franklin said Sims had been employed with the county for several years and was a “great guy.”

Prattville Police Chief Mark Thompson said he thought of Sims like a son, according to WSFA. “He was one of the people that took care of his friends. Give you the shirt off his back,” said Thompson. “He would kid around and call me Dad sometimes. But yeah, it was just a close relationship with the whole Thompson family.”

The group that hosted the training event, Covenant Rescue Group, issued a statement confirming the death and offering condolences to Sims’ family.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of a tragic incident that occurred during an anti-sex trafficking training hosted for law enforcement officers this week. Unfortunately, one of the attending officers was found deceased in the parking lot of the event center where the training was hosted,” the statement said, noting that “this incident was entirely unrelated to the class training.”

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing or texting 988.

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