New York Officers Save Suicidal Teen by Snatching Shotgun Split Second Before It Fired

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
June 19, 2019 Updated: June 19, 2019

Two New York City police officers saved the life of a suicidal teenager by snatching a loaded shotgun away from the 19-year-old a split second before it fired.

The unidentified young man’s mother alerted the police that her son was in the stairwell of a Manhattan building on Monday, June 17, the New York Daily News reported, and that he was armed with a shotgun.

Officers responded to the Nagel Ave. residence, where they found the young man wielding the weapon. The policemen plucked the loaded shotgun from the teenager’s grasp as he held it up against his chin. According to the report, a split second after the officers snatched it away, the firearm discharged.

No one was injured.

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan later shared a photo of the shotgun and shells.

“This is the loaded shotgun that heroic cops grabbed away from a distraught individual who had it pressed against his chin. @NYPD34Pct officers knew the danger, didn’t hesitate — and saved a life. Well done!,” he wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

The young man was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal weapon possession, the Daily News reported.

Spate of Suspected Suicides Among NY Police

New York City police say a 29-year-old officer died on Friday, June 14, in the department’s third suspected suicide in less than two weeks, The Associated Press reported.

Police say he shot himself in the head around 3:45 p.m. on a Staten Island street near the 121st Precinct to which the officer was assigned. His identity had not been released as of late Friday.

Last week, two longtime officers died in suspected suicides within 24 hours of each other. Deputy Chief Steven Silks was found dead in a police vehicle in Queens on June 5. Detective Joseph Calabrese was found the next day at a Brooklyn beach.

Police say both died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.

NYPD car
New York City Police on Wilcox Street following a report of a police officer shot in the Staten Island borough on June 14, 2019. (Joseph Ostapiuk/Staten Island Advance via AP)

In the wake of the deaths, Commissioner James O’Neill sent a note reminding the more than 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilians in the NYPD that help is available if they’re feeling depressed, hopeless, or otherwise contemplating self-harm.

“This is about keeping our family healthy—and about saving lives,” O’Neill wrote. “Your jobs require that you spend so much of your work day helping people in crisis. But, before you can take care of others, it’s imperative that you first take care of yourselves.”

Suicide Prevention

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

If you or someone you know is showing signs that they might be considering suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 800-273-TALK or go to Texts can also be sent to The Crisis Text Line at 741741.

The best way to help a loved one who seems at risk of suicide is to help them seek out professional help.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are many psychiatric symptoms indicating a risk of suicide.

Below are five general indicators to be aware of, as reported by The Epoch Times’s Catherine Bolton:

1. Self-Harming Behavior

One of the clearest warning signs that someone is battling with suicidal thoughts is evidence of self-harm.

Epoch Times Photo

This may not always come in a clear form. Visible cutting is usually an easy-to-spot sign of self-harm, but it’s not always done as a cry for help. For some, actions like cutting or other forms of physical self-abuse are done in an attempt to distract from mental anguish by replacing it with a manageable, more distracting form of physical pain.

2. Anti-Social Attitudes

Suicidal thoughts and a decision to die may not mean that a loved one has stopped caring about others, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t withdraw from their families and friends as they contemplate the end of their lives.

3. Violent Mood Swings

The chemical imbalances in the brain that cause severe depression and suicidal behavior can cause more than just feelings of hopelessness. In some cases, they can also cause periods of mania, so keep an eye out for extreme highs and lows.

4. Impulsive Actions

Be wary of impulsive choices when a loved one isn’t prone to those kinds of behaviors. There can be multiple reasons that a suicidal loved one starts to act impulsively. Sometimes, it is related to a manic episode, which is always a red flag.

5. Reckless Decision-Making

If a loved one starts to drink a lot, take illegal drugs, or participate in other reckless or impulsive behaviors, keep in mind that this can be just as obvious a warning sign of suicidal thoughts as a mopey teenager or locked bedroom door.

Disclaimer: The above information about suicide prevention is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

The Associated Press and Catherine Bolton contributed to this article.

Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'