AP NEWS

Police release name of Bridgeport cop who died in suspected suicide

March 3, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — The city is mourning the loss of Sgt. Mark Belinkie, a 19-year-veteran of the Bridgeport police, whose death police are investigating as a suicide.

Belinkie, whose name Bridgeport police released Sunday, was found dead in his Milford home on Saturday.

Milford police said Sunday morning its investigation into Belinkie’s death was ongoing, but did not release any additional information.

“We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Sergeant Mark Belinkie,” Mayor Joe Ganim said in a statement. “As we grieve, we will continue to have his family, friends and his colleagues of the Bridgeport Police Department in our thoughts and prayers.”

Belinkie joined the Bridgeport Police Department in 2000 at 24, according to a release from the city. He served as detective and was promoted to sergeant in 2011, where he served in the patrol division before his death.

“I share my deepest condolences with Sergeant Belinkie’s family and with the fellow brothers and sisters of our department,” Chief Armando Perez said in a statement. “We lost a member of our family and everyone is hurting. If any one of our officers is suffering and needs to talk, they are encouraged to speak with our peer counselors who are available.”

Perez said Saturday that officers did not know how Belinkie died. But police said they are looking into whether it was a suicide.

If it’s determined to be a suicide, it would be Bridgeport police’s second in a little more than a year. Officer Thomas Lattanzio died by suicide on Dec. 4, 2017, putting a spotlight on the too-common suicides of law enforcement officials.

For the third year in a row, police officer suicides in 2018 exceeded all line-of-duty deaths across the nation, according to Blue H.E.L.P., a nonprofit run by retired and active police officers that tracks police suicides. At least 159 police officers died by suicide in 2018, the nonprofit found, while 144 were killed in the line of duty.

If you’re thinking about suicide or worried about someone who might be, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a local crisis center. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by messaging TALK to 741741. Police officers can text the word BLUE to 741741.

Tara O’Neill contributed to this report.

This story will be updated.