Graduates of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Academy stand for the pledge of allegiance at their graduation ceremony at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, Calif., on Aug. 21, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Four individuals—including three current and one retired employee—with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) were found dead over the course of 24 hours beginning Nov. 6, said authorities.
According to the sheriff’s department, the first three deaths occurred on Monday—two in the Santa Clarita Valley and another in the Antelope Valley.
Detectives were dispatched to the initial incident in Valencia at around 10:30 a.m. They responded to a second incident at 12:53 p.m. in Lancaster, followed by another at 5:40 p.m. in Stevenson Ranch.
The next morning, homicide detectives responded to another death of a current employee at a hospital in Pomona, a city in eastern Los Angeles County.
“Our LASD family has experienced a significant amount of loss and tragedies this year,” Sheriff Robert Luna said in a statement to The Epoch Times Nov. 7. “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.”
Despite the close timing and locations of the deaths, the sheriff’s department is handling each as a separate investigation of possible suicide.
Los Angeles County Sheriff, Robert Luna, speaks during a press conference to announce new efforts to curb recent retail thefts, at City Hall in Los Angeles, California, on Aug. 17, 2023. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)
While some media have reported the names of the deceased, the sheriff’s department said they could not confirm their identities out of respect for their families. Additionally, the Los Angeles Medical Examiner’s office has not yet provided any further details on the causes of death.
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper, which was the first to report the deaths, said that according to county Medical Examiner records, two of the individuals identified as deceased on Monday were determined to have died by suicide—one from a gunshot wound to the chest and the other a gunshot to the head. One was 67 and the other 56, the paper reported.
The publication additionally reported a 60-year-old woman employed at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic was among those who died. The person who died Tuesday also worked at the Pitchess facility, the Signal reported.
“During trying times like these it’s important for personnel regardless of rank or position to check on the wellbeing of other colleagues and friends,” the sheriff said. “I have the deepest concern for our employees’ wellbeing, and we are urgently exploring avenues to reduce work stress factors to support our employees’ work and personal lives.”
The sheriff’s department noted that it has counseling services available around the clock for department personnel, along with a peer support program. Support services are also being offered to families of the employees who died.