A tragic report out of L.A. County indicates that four former or current employees with the sheriff’s office all took their own lives within a 24-hour period earlier this week.
On Monday, officials made three heartbreaking discoveries. Captain Darren Harris was found dead in his Santa Clarita home at about 10:30 a.m. He died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Just over two hours later, the body of retired Sergeant Greg Hovland was discovered at his home in Quartz Hill. By 5:45 p.m. that same day, yet another deceased employee — this time, an as-yet unnamed custody assistant at the county jail — had been found dead at a home in Stevenson Ranch.
Unfortunately, the sad news did not end there. The following morning, an unnamed jail deputy died as well. He was found unresponsive at home at around 7:30 a.m. and rushed to a hospital in Pomona, where he was pronounced dead.
All four deaths are being investigated as suicides, though investigators have cautioned that the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office has not yet determined an official cause of death in any of these cases.
All four victims were male, and as already stated, all four were working or had previously worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. However, investigators do not currently know of any other connections between them, either in their professional or personal lives.
Four other department associates also committed suicide earlier this year. These latest deaths, if determined to be suicides, would bring the 2023 total to eight.
On Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Robert Luna issued a statement about the four most recent deaths. “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,” the statement said. “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.”
Luna also reiterated that psychological and other counseling services were available to those in need.
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