Hero Down: NYPD Officer Johnny Rios Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound
Yonkers, NY – New York Police Officer Johnny Rios died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home on Tuesday.
The 35-year-old officer’s girlfriend was also home at the time, the New York Daily News reported.
Shortly before 3:30 a.m., a neighbor heard a woman yell “No!” three times, just before a gunshot rang out, according to the paper.
The woman then began to wail, and screamed “No!” once again, the neighbor said.
Officer Rios also left a note prior to committing suicide, sources told the New York Daily News.
The seven-year veteran-of-the-force was assigned to the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) 50th Precinct, where he worked alongside 53-year-old Officer Kevin Preiss.
Officer Preiss, who served the NYPD for nearly 25 years, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on June 26.
Officer Rios had recently been working a temporary assignment at Yankee Stadium, according to the New York Daily News.
His neighbor, Jesse Manuel, said that the young officer kept to himself, and that he often gave toys to kids in the neighborhood.
Officer Rios and his girlfriend recently got engaged, and lived together with her two children, according to the New York Post.
“They’re a very happy couple,” another neighbor told the paper. “They were planning on getting married soon. [Officer Rios] was excited about it…He showed us the ring before he proposed. That was about three weeks ago.”
Officer Rios was the eighth NYPD officer to commit suicide in 2019.
“How many people are going to end up dead before something changes?” Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins asked, according to the New York Post.
Mullins said that department leaders need to do more to help the officers who are out working the streets.
“I think they need to look at the big picture,’’ the union leader said. “I think they need to take a look at PTSD. I think we need to look into the idea of annual therapy, basically extracting the trauma that builds up.’’
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said that the department plans to hire additional peer-level counselors to help support officers, the New York Post reported.
“We look at this like there is a contagion,’’ Chief Monahan said. “We had averaged four to five suicides over the last few years. Currently this year, we have eight suicides. That is a very large number.”
Officer Rios’ family members said that he had been struggling in the wake of the recent loss of his 80-year-old father, followed by Officer Preiss’ suicide, The New York Times reported.
“When my father passed away, all of the police officers came to the funeral,” Officer Rios’ brother, Gerard, told the paper. “My other brother knew he had been sad. But we were not expecting this.”
“He was a wonderful person,” said their sister, Dolly. “He was always funny, upbeat. Just a great guy.”
Officer Rios will be laid to rest on Saturday, according to his obituary.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York Police Officer Johnny Rios, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.