‘Shockwaves of emotions’ after 4 L.A. Sheriff’s Department employees die by suicide in 24 hours

Warning: This article discusses suicide.

After the suicide deaths of one retired and three current members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in a 24-hour period, officials released a statement Tuesday saying the department “is beyond saddened to learn of the deaths.”

While the sheriff’s department did not identify the employees or say the deaths were self-inflicted, the Los Angeles Times cites numerous sources who agreed to talk about the suicides on the condition of anonymity.

The first victim was discovered Monday at around 10:30 a.m. in Valencia. A little more than two hours later, at 12:53 p.m., LASD detectives responded to another death in Lancaster and a third at 5:40 p.m. in Stevenson Ranch. The fourth victim was discovered Tuesday at around 7:30 a.m. in the city of Pomona.

“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,” L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna said in a statement.

According to The Times, one of the victims was 25-year career veteran Cmdr. Darren Harris, who was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday morning. Another victim was retired Sgt. Greg Hovland, who was discovered just hours later.

The four deaths are being investigated by homicide detectives and the County of Los Angeles Medical Examiner, the department’s release noted.

“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 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.”

LASD said its Psychological Services Bureau and the Injury and Health Support Unit were providing support and resources to the families of the four victims.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health or thoughts of suicide, please seek immediate professional help by calling the nationwide mental health crisis hotline by dialing 9-8-8 on your phone.

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