Queens, NY – New York Police Department (NYPD) Patrol Borough Queens North Deputy Chief Steven Silks died by suicide on Wednesday.
Chief Silks was just weeks shy of his 63rd birthday – which was the day he would have also faced mandatory retirement from the NYPD, the New York Daily News reported.
“His family lives out of state. He’s not married,” one of his fellow officers said. “He absolutely lived for the NYPD… He was aged out. He’s the kind of guy who would have served until he died of natural causes.”
Chief Silks, a 39-year veteran-of-the-force, submitted his mandatory retirement papers at the NYPD pension office on Tuesday.
His 39-year career was scheduled to come to a close on July 9, according to the New York Post.
On Wednesday, he drove his unmarked patrol vehicle to a quiet section of Burns Street near the 112th Precinct station where he worked, and shot himself in the head, the New York Daily News reported.
A security guard for a nearby tennis club found Chief Silks inside the vehicle with a gun beside him at approximately 6:45 p.m.
He was not in uniform, and responding officers did not immediately recognize the high-ranking NYPD officer.
Chief Silks was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“I am speechless," Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter told the New York Daily News. “Steve was an incredibly dedicated and great guy. He was great at what he does. This is a terrible loss.”
He was heavily involved with both department and community events, Richter said.
“He was part of the fabric of just about every major police event over the last couple of decades,” he explained.
Chief Silks was also an avid outdoorsman.
“He ran a 3:09 New York Marathon at one point in his life and reached the summit of Mount Everest,” Richter told the New York Daily News. “He coordinated the U.S. Open on a regular basis.”
During his nearly four decades of service with the NYPD, Chief Silks spent several years as the department’s firing range commander and commanded two Bronx precincts.
He was also second-in-command at the police academy, Patrol Borough Queens South, the Patrol Services Bureau, and Patrol Borough Brooklyn North at various points throughout his career.
“He’s a reliable guy, he’s very friendly. He was a good friend,” Richter said. “How do you describe a good friend? He was always someone you could rely on when you needed support.”
Police sources said the longtime lawman had expressed sadness that his mandatory retirement was drawing near, according to the New York Daily News.
“He loved what he did,” one of Chief Silks’ fellow officers told the New York Post. “He was admired and loved by everybody. It’s heartbreaking.”
Detectives’ Endowment Association President Michael Palladino said that Chief Silks was “one of the nicest human beings I ever met."
“He had such enthusiasm for the job and for life itself which makes this difficult to understand,” Palladino said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York Police Department Patrol Borough Queens North Deputy Chief Steven Silks, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.