Brooklyn, NY – New York Police Department (NYPD) Detective Joe Calabrese was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head on Thursday.
The 58-year-old detective was last seen at approximately 2 a.m., when he left Maimonides Medical Center after visiting his wife, who had undergone a minor procedure there, the New York Post reported.
About an hour later, another NYPD detective spotted his black Cadillac parked near Plumb Beach.
When Det. Calabrese failed to show up for work on Thursday and couldn’t be reached, a massive search party was dispatched to the area surrounding his abandoned vehicle.
Approximately 100 law enforcement officers set out in search of the veteran detective using helicopters, boats, and K9s, the New York Daily News reported.
His body was found near some bushes at the beach later that afternoon, according to the New York Post.
Police said he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“I don’t understand it,” one of his stunned colleagues told the New York Post. “I don’t understand why he would do this.”
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea released a statement in the wake of the beloved detective’s tragic death, the New York Daily News reported.
“Today, we lost a pillar of the Detective Bureau. A gentleman who’d lend a hand to anyone in need. A seasoned homicide investigator determined to find justice for the victim and solace for those left behind,” Chief Shea said. “Rest easy, Detective Joe Calabrese. You will be missed tremendously.”
Det. Calabrese was assigned to NYPD’s Brooklyn South homicide division, and was heavily involved in the Detectives Endowment Association (DEA) as a union trustee and board member, the New York Post reported.
“I am shocked and shattered beyond belief,” DEA President Michael Palladino said.
“Joseph Calabrese was a dedicated detective, union official, husband and father,” Palladino told the New York Post. “He was the salt of the earth.”
He joined the department in 1982, and also has a son who is assigned to the NYPD’s 67th Precinct, the New York Daily News reported.
He leaves behind his wife and four children, according to AM New York.
The discovery of Det. Calabrese’s death came just hours after the body of NYPD Patrol Borough Queens North Deputy Chief Steven Silks was found inside his patrol vehicle near the 112th Precinct where he worked.
Chief Silks, who was facing mandatory retirement due to his upcoming 63rd birthday, also died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
“To the cops here today, I need you to know, help is available to you,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said during a news conference on Thursday, according to The New York Times. “Help is here, you are never alone.”
NYPD Chief Terence Monahan echoed the commissioner’s statement in a video posted to social media.
“No situation is hopeless,” Chief Monahan said, according to The New York Times. “You put strangers first every day. Now it’s time to prioritize your own health and well-being. And don’t forget to check in with your fellow cops.”
“Trust me when I say getting some help will not prevent you from having a successful career,” he added, according to the New York Daily News. “Actually, getting help will lessen the burden you may be carrying. You are never alone.”
Det. Calabrese and Chief Silks had a combined experience of nearly 80 years on the force, The New York Times reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York Police Department Detective Joe Calabrese, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.