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Off-duty Chicago police officer dies by suicide, autopsy confirms

It was the third such death by a member of the department this year.

A police procession brings an officer’s body to the Cook County medical examiner’s office on the Near West Side on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
A police procession brings an officer’s body to the Cook County medical examiner’s office on the Near West Side on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
Screenshot from Chicago police video

An off-duty Chicago police officer died by suicide Wednesday morning in the Clearing neighborhood on the Southwest Side — the third such death by a member of the department this year.

The body of Christian Furczon, 24, was found slumped over in a vehicle at Hale Elementary School in the 6100 block of South Melvina Avenue, according to police and fire sources.

Furczon was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:35 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Autopsy results released Thursday revealed Furczon died from a gunshot wound through his mouth, the medical examiner’s office said. His death was ruled a suicide.

Furczon, who lived several blocks from where he was found, joined the force in 2018 and worked on the community safety team.

Police did not release details about the officer or the incident, other than to say he died by suicide.

“It is always profoundly painful to deliver such news,” CPD Supt. David Brown said in a statement. “This morning, the Department experienced the heartbreaking loss of one of our police officers to an apparent suicide. As his family, loved ones and fellow CPD officers mourn, we are asking the city to help carry their grief by keeping them in your thoughts.”

“Being a police officer is not an easy job and our officers carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. They put their lives on the line for the people of Chicago, all while balancing their daily lives and taking care of their families. At the end of the day, these police officers are only human. It’s so important now, more than ever, to remember that,” Brown said.

A procession brought Furczon’s body to the Cook County medical examiner’s office on the Near West Side.

He was the third Chicago police officer to die in a suicide this year, and at least the 11th officer since 2018.

On March 5, Officer Jeffrey Troglia, 38, shot himself in the basement of his Mount Greenwood home on the Southwest Side. Troglia, who joined the force in 2006, worked in the department’s gang investigations unit.

Earlier that week, Officer James Daly was found dead of a gunshot in the men’s locker room of the Town Hall police station at 850 W. Addison. Daly, 47, told colleagues he was planning to retire even though he was notified two weeks before he died that he needed to be 50 to qualify for a pension, officials said then.

Shortly after the pair of officer suicides, CPD announced the hiring of Alexa James, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago, as a senior adviser of wellness. The department said she planned to create a comprehensive “officer wellness strategy.”

A 2017 Justice Department report found the department’s suicide rate was 60% higher than the nationwide average for officers.

If you or someone you know needs help, call (800) 273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.