Law enforcement officials found four Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employees dead on Monday and Tuesday, in what officials described as unrelated suicides, according to multiple reports.
The deaths include one retired LASD member and three current members over a 24-hour period, according to KTLA. The first three victims were discovered on Monday, with the first victim being found dead at around 10:30 a.m. in Valencia; a second death was discovered at 12:53 p.m. in Lancaster; and a third death was reported at 5:40 p.m. in Stevenson Ranch. Detectives responded to the fourth victim Tuesday at around 7:30 a.m. in the city of Pomona, KTLA reported.
L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna said the deaths rocked law enforcement officers across the state.
“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,” Luna said in an emailed statement to the outlet.
Two of the victims from Monday were identified by the Los Angeles Times as 25-year career veteran Cmdr. Darren Harris, and retired Sgt. Greg Hovland.
“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.”
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has not officially disclosed the identity of the officers.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for additional information, but a response was not immediately received.
Cristina Coria, a retired Santa Monica police officer, told FOX 11 Los Angeles that the string of suicides, which authorities do not believe are related, comes as law enforcement has generally struggled to deal with depression that often stems from the difficulty of the job and other factors.
“There are so many officers that I know that have talked about committing suicide that I never thought in a million years would think about it or talk about it,” Coria told FOX 11.
She added: “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, that our departments are not reaching out to them [struggling officers] enough.”
Struggles for first responders often include trauma from the job, lack of public support, family or financial troubles, injuries they receive while working, and feelings of abandonment after receiving those injuries, FOX 11 reported. The lack of financial compensation or support from superiors, forced medical retirement and feelings of a lost identity after retiring also contribute.
Laura Linder, the founder of the nonprofit Exclusively First Responders and mother-in-law to a former LASD officer, said the daily job responsibilities also take a toll on the officers’ well-being.
“What they see on a daily basis, we cannot even imagine and they cannot unthink what they see,” Linder said.
Referencing the four officers who were found dead this week, Coria added: “It’s sad that these officers did not get the help that I’m sure they wanted and were looking for.”
According to KTLA, the LASD does not believe the deaths are connected. Its Psychological Services Bureau and the Injury and Health Support Unit are providing support and resources to the victims’ families.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is still reeling from the death of Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, who was fatally shot in Palmdale on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recruit also died over the summer.