HOUSTON -- The Houston Police Department is mourning the death of one of its own after a sergeant took his own life at an HPD substation Friday morning.
According to HPD Chief Art Acevedo, officers discovered the body of a sergeant -- a 21-year veteran-- at the Westside Patrol Station at 3203 S. Dairy Ashford.
The sergeant arrived at the station at 5:45 a.m. and remained in the parking lot until 6:15 a.m. He then walked into the building.
At 7:40 a.m., personnel noted the sergeant did not appear at roll call and was unusually late. HPD personnel made efforts to locate the sergeant through phone contact and through his family members.
Officers learned the sergeant had left his residence and later located his vehicle inside the patrol station's parking lot. Upon identifying the vehicle, it was determined that they search the station. His body was found around 8:35 a.m.
The sergeant died from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
"After our folks could not locate him, we made the decision to search the facility and found our deceased sergeant inside a stairwell on the fourth floor," Acevedo said.
Acevedo said they will be conducting a psychological autopsy to determine what led the sergeant to end his life. They do not know if the cause was work-related or involved his home life.
"Anytime that we have a suicide in law enforcement, as a leader, I've always asked that we have a psychological autopsy because we know that life brings about a lot of stress," Acevedo said. "We know that a lot of factors go into these instances occurring and we owe it to the family and one another to make sure we have a clear understanding of what led to this day."
The sergeant had a wife and two young children, ages 10 and 12.
The chief requested that the media and public respect the family's privacy at this time.
"If you can imagine, anytime you deal with an unplanned death, especially of such a young family in the prime of their life, we can't explain these things. They need time," Acevedo said. "Please just pray for the family, pray for those young children and also our colleagues."
HPD psychological services and the chaplain were on hand to provide counseling.