Philadelphia, PA – A veteran Philadelphia police officer fatally shot his wife before he turned the gun on himself, according to police.
The bodies of 39-year-old Philadelphia Police Officer Jose Rodriguez and his 36-year-old wife, Ivelisse Rodriguez, were discovered by Philadelphia fire officials at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Monday, KYW reported.
Officers attempted to check on the 11-year veteran-of-the-force earlier that day after he failed to show up for work, but were unable to reach him.
The fire department later responded to the Juniata Park residence after the officer’s 17-year-old daughter reported that she hadn’t been able to reach her parents.
After forcing entry, fire personnel found Officer Rodriguez’s wife dead in the dining room from multiple gunshot wounds.
Officer Rodriguez’s body was located in the basement with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Police also found a handgun lying next to the veteran officer’s body, WPVI reported.
Investigators said they believe the murder-suicide occurred sometime during the night, according KYW.
“Right now we’re surmising, even though it’s very early in the investigation, that the male, who is an active duty Philadelphia police officer, shot and killed the female, who is his wife, and then went down in the basement and turned the gun on himself,” Philadelphia Police Captain Sekou Kinebrew told WHYY.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 11:34 a.m., WPVI reported.
“Our heart breaks for this entire family,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
Neighbors said that Officer Rodriguez and his wife were a kind, quiet couple, but that they had not been living together for many years.
Ivelisse’s relatives said that she and the couple’s two children, ages 11 and 17, moved out approximately 10 years ago, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“It’s very unfortunate that you have these two lives that have been ended this way, but also we got a 17-year-old and 11-year-old who lost both their parents,” the commissioner said, according to KYW.
Commissioner Ross said that it is important for law enforcement officers to get help for mental health issues.
“Ironically we had just put out some messaging just last week about this issue encouraging officers with any concerns they may have about their mental health to seek that type of help and not be concerned about any stigma,” he told WHYY.
"We’re seeing an epidemic nationally with police suicides, but we’re hoping that officers, as well as civilian personnel — because they deal with a great deal of trauma that most people never hear or see as well — that they avail themselves of any help that they may need," Commissioner Ross added, according to KYW.
"We want to get people to the point where they know there is no shame in reaching out and getting assistance," the commissioner stressed, according to WCAU. "You need to seek help and not be afraid to do so."