Mobile, AL – Mobile Police Department (MPD) Officer Justin Carmen died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday.
Mobile police officers discovered the 29-year-old officer’s body inside his vehicle in the predawn hours, Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste told reporters during a press conference later that morning.
“We are mourning the death of one of our brothers in blue today. Our law enforcement family has lost Officer Justin Carmen to a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the department said in a subsequent press release.
According to WALA, there was a heavy police presence in the 180-block of South Florida Street at approximately 7 a.m.
An MPD patrol vehicle was ultimately towed away from the area.
“The department is in mourning,” the Chief Battiste said during the press conference. “Right now, we’re just trying to make sure we do everything we can to make sure we can bring comfort to the family…and likewise, with our officers.”
The MPD has reached out to Officer Carmen’s mother, who lives in North Carolina.
The investigation into the officer’s death remains ongoing, Chief Battiste said.
Officer Carmen joined the MPD in March of 2018.
“He’s been an outstanding officer in the year and nine months that he served the Mobile Police Department,” the chief told reporters. “He’s carried out his patrol duties as professionally as he possibly can…He always had a smile on his face.”
Chief Battiste said that the young officer’s death is a “tremendous loss” to the MPD.
Chief Battiste said that more needs to be done to help remove the stigma that first responders often face when dealing with their own mental health and emotional struggles.
“Law enforcement officers are human – they feel. They hurt,” the chief added. “And, because they see so much, at some point they become numb and calloused to some of the hurt, and so they don’t know how to express it.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mobile Police Department Officer Justin Carmen, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.