Elgin Nelson, Staff
Warning: This story includes mentions of suicide.
Four L.A. County Sheriff’s Department employees were found dead by alleged suicides within 24 hours. One retired and three current employee’s deaths sent shockwaves throughout the sheriff’s department, which is reportedly “beyond saddened to learn of the deaths.”
“We are stunned to learn of these deaths, and it has sent shockwaves of emotions throughout the department as we try and cope with the loss of not just one, but four beloved active and retired members of our department family,” L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna said in a statement.
The first death reported was with Commander Darren Harris, a former spokesman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. He allegedly took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, occurring at around 10:30 a.m. in his Santa Clarita residence.
The second fatality involved Greg Hovland, a retired veteran of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Hovland was discovered deceased at his Quartz Hill home on Monday around 7:30 a.m.
That same day, another case occurred just mere hours later, a little after 12:50 p.m., detectives responded to a second death in Lancaster.
Finally, the next day at 7:30 a.m., homicide detectives responded to the death of a current LASD employee at a Pomona hospital. The deceased individual reportedly worked in the custody department at the North County Correctional Facility, situated in the maximum security portion of the Pitchess jail.
Sheriff Robert Luna expressed that the sheriff’s department is in dire need of any additional help, “During trying times like these, it’s important for personnel, regardless of rank or position, to check on the well-being of other colleagues and friends. I have the deepest concern for our employee’s well-being, and we are urgently exploring avenues to reduce work stress factors to support our employee’s work and personal lives. Additionally, the department has a Peer Support Program that members can use for additional assistance.”
Luna also stated that the department’s Psychological Services Bureau and the Injury and Health Support Unit were working to provide counseling and other resources to the families of the officers.