A veteran Cincinnati police officer who was found dead inside a vehicle in a city park days before Christmas took his own life, the Hamilton County coroner ruled.
Police Chief Eliot Isaac confirmed the death during a rainy afternoon news conference Dec. 20 in Eden Park, where Sgt. Arthur T. Schultz was found.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that I announce here today that we are investigating the death of one of our own,” Isaac said as a helicopter could be heard flying overhead.
Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco announced on Dec. 21 that Schultz’s death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“We at the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office wish to convey our condolences to the Schultz family,” Sammarco said, according to Fox19 in Cincinnati.
Isaac said on Dec. 20 that police officers discovered Schultz around 12:30 p.m. in a vehicle parked on Eden Park Drive, near Lake Drive in the northeast corner of the park.
“There’s still much work to be done here,” Isaac said at the scene. “We are not actively looking for anyone involved in this.”
Sammarco said her office always begins a death investigation with some presumptions.
“We always presume homicide until we prove otherwise, so we’re always going to take in what we have in the way of evidence and facts,” Sammarco said.
The coroner said her office looks at whether a death is natural and whether it was accidental, a homicide or a suicide.
“I can tell you it wasn’t natural, but that’s all I can say at this point,” Sammarco said.
Watch Chief Eliot Isaac and Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco talk about Sgt. Arthur Schultz’s death below, courtesy of Fox19.
The coroner said she had met Schultz in the course of her duties and spoke to him just a few weeks before he died.
“He was a good man,” Sammarco said. “This is really hard for the entire department. It’s hard for our department. We have a lot of retired officers in our department, as well, and I think this is one of those really difficult scenes for everybody.
“When you’ve known and worked with the person, it’s much more real to you. It’s much more personal.”
Isaac said Schultz was a 28-year veteran of the department.
(He was) a highly respected, highly recognized officer,” Isaac said.
A news release issued the night of his death said Schultz was hired by the department in 1990. He moved up in the ranks to police specialist in 1995 and sergeant in 1997.
He has been a member of the department’s vice unit since December 2000.
Schultz was working a plain clothes assignment before his death and was not in uniform, the chief said. He declined to say whether Schultz was found in a police vehicle and said further details would be withheld for the time being.
The death was hitting Schultz’s colleagues hard.
“When we arrived here, it was a very emotional scene,” Isaac said. “But you’re talking about professionals. Once the officers compose themselves, they go to work. They do what they’re trained to do and what they’ve done many times.”
Eden Park was closed for several hours as the scene was investigated.
If you or someone you love is struggling with suicide or suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255, or get more information at SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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