A rash of “suicides” among current and former members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department prompted suspicion as four deaths in a 24-hour period were investigated “independently.”
Out of respect for the families, official statements from the LASD remained quiet on the identities of three current and one retired member.
An official statement from the department expressed, “The Sheriff’s Department is beyond saddened to learn of the deaths involving four LASD employees, one retired and three current members of the department.”
According to a timeline provided by LASD spokeswoman Nicole Nishida, Monday, “at approximately 10:30 a.m., Homicide Bureau responded to a death in Valencia. Later in the afternoon, detectives responded to a death at 12:53 p.m. in Lancaster and later in the evening at 5:40 p.m. in Stevenson Ranch.”
A fourth death was reported to have occurred in the city of Pomona with detectives responding at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Out of respect for their grieving families, we will not be disclosing the names of the employees at this time. Homicide detectives and the county of Los Angeles Medical Examiner will continue to investigate each incident independently,” the statement from Nishida added.
In his own reaction, LASD Sheriff Robert Luna said, “Our LASD family has experienced a significant amount of loss and tragedies this year. 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.”
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Meanwhile, speaking with Fox 11 Los Angeles, retired Santa Monica police officer Cristina Coria shared a different perspective as she told the outlet, “There are so many officers that I know what have talked about committing suicide that I never thought in a million years would think about it or talk about it.”
“There are so many officers out there that are struggling with their identity, with finances, with relationship problems, with addictions to pain meds, addiction to alcohol, you name it. There are so many things going on,” she went on, “that our departments are not reaching out to them [struggling officers] enough.”
Likewise, former Sheriff Alex Villanueva who had been ousted by voters in Nov. 2022 took to social media to question the now-nine reported suicides within the department in 2023.
“These four deaths bring the total of nine suicides with the [LASD] this year. Why so many from one agency?” he asked. “Prayers for all who are hurting, look out for each other.”
Villanueva was far from alone in challenging the story as word of the tragedies spread.
No way this a coincidence.
— Johann Drolshagen (@JDrolshagen) November 8, 2023
Of course the LA Sheriff’s Department is saying that the FOUR SUICIDES IN ONE DAY are unrelated, which only makes it feel more certain that they *are* related and LASD knows it.
— Strike Lee (@BostonJerry) November 8, 2023
FOUR suicides in one day, and they’re saying their “unrelated”?
That seems very doubtful. I hope someone is investigating what those four might have been involved in together.
Maybe the FBI or DOJ need to be taking an interest in this?
— KudzuCat (@KudzuCat) November 8, 2023
Something’s going to come out and it will be big.
— Juju Bee (@notbeforenoon) November 8, 2023
Omg how can this be? Something seems very wrong there.
— BarbaraG (@BarbaraGeisman) November 8, 2023