Bridgeport, CT - Bridgeport Police Officer Thomas Lattanzio was found dead on Monday, Dec. 4. He was off-duty at the time.
Officer Lattanzio had driven himself to Seaside Park across from the beach, according to police. He was found unresponsive about 9 a.m. in his vehicle, and the coroner ruled his death a suicide, according to Bridgeport Daily Voice.
In a statement, Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez said:
"This is a very sad day for the Bridgeport Police Department. Our family has lost a brother officer. Officer Thomas Lattanzio had dedicated nearly 20 years of his life serving our residents and our city, and we mourn his loss. We will have more to say about the circumstances surrounding Officer Lattanzio's passing in the future.
For today, we pray for his family and we are comforting each other.”
Officer Lattanzio was involved in two civil rights cases, and the most recent resulted in him being placed on administrative leave. His gun and badge were taken away pending the outcome of the investigation by the city's Office of Internal Affairs, according to CTPost.
He had been evicted from his city condominium just days before his suspension, and was described by people who knew him as a loner.
"The Bridgeport Police Department was his family. When his gun and badge were taken, he had nothing else," according to a fellow officer.
Chief Perez said, “We pray for his family and we are comforting each other. Policing is a tough job and we have hundreds of committed officers who put their lives on the line to protect each of us, every day.”
Additional details about the manner of death have not been released.
In his statement, Chief Perez also said:
"Policing is a tough job, and we have hundreds of committed officers who put their lives on the line to protect each of us, every day. As always we will rely on each other and our community for support, for which we are grateful. I ask that the public keep the brave men and women of the Bridgeport Police Department in your prayers during this difficult time.”
Officer Lattanzio's death is the third apparent suicide of area officers within the past four months, according to CTPost.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Bridgeport Police Officer Thomas Lattanzio, both blood and blue. Godspeed, sir, we will take the watch from here. Thank you for your service.