LAURELTON, Queens — Another NYPD officer has died by suicide -- becoming the ninth to do so this year and the seventh since June 5, officials said.
Robert Echeverría, 56, shot himself in the head at his Laurelton home in Queens just after 6 p.m. Wednesday. The 25-year veteran of the force, who was also a military veteran, and was assigned to the Strategic Response Team.
Echeverría was a husband and father of two, ages 11 and 18, a police source tells PIX11.
"We are saddened to announce that the NYPD has suffered another tragedy today with the loss of one of our officers to suicide," the NYPD tweeted. "To anyone who may be struggling, know that there is support available."
His death comes just one day after NYPD officer Johnny Rios, 35, killed himself in Yonkers.
Hours before this latest death, PIX11's Kori Chambers asked Chief of Department Terence Monahan if he feared more tragedies in the NYPD.
"A lot of psychologists and psychiatrists talk about a contagion of suicide and that, when one happens, others who have been thinking about this for a long time may come forward and take their own lives," Monahan said.
Councilman Donovan Richards, who represents the section of Queens, called it a crisis.
"We have to come together as a city to do everything we can to provide more services for officers who don’t want to jeopardize their career," he tweeted.
The recent cluster of suicides has NYPD leaders working to overcome the stigma of asking for help.
Four NYPD officers died because of suicide in all of 2018.
The NYPD has averaged between four and five suicides a year over the past five years, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said in June.
The NYPD offers multiple resources for the emotional and physical toll the job takes on those in the force.
On their website, the NYPD lists numbers for their Employee Assistance Unit, Chaplain’s Unit, peer assistance program, and other resources.
The NYPD also recommends POPPA — Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance. It’s a “volunteer police support network committed exclusively to providing a confidential, safe and supportive environment for police officers and retirees.” Their helpline is 1-888-COPS-COP (1-888-267-7267).
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It’s a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within the tri-state area and the nation.
Depression and suicidal thoughts are often exhibited in many ways. Warning signs for suicide can include, but are not limited to, talking about wanting to die; conveying feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or being a burden; and displaying extreme moods.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention advises that you do not leave the person alone, call a prevention hotline, and take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
For more information on suicide prevention, including additional resources and warning signs, you can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website.