Policeman fatally shot himself at school and caused a lockdown
Police found a 21-year-veteran dead in the basement office of Eastern Technical High School in Essex on Monday.
Joseph Comegna, a Baltimore County policeman, was a school resource officer for 12 years. He had worked at the high school for four years before he killed himself.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the faculty heard a gunshot noise and called authorities at 12:23 p.m. to investigate. Comegna was found alone along with his service weapon in the room.
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Initially, Comegna's was said to be suffering from a "medical emergency." There was a gunshot wound on his upper body.
He was then transported to the MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center where they pronounced him dead.
Surveillance cameras within the school compound showed Comegna walking towards his office solo.
The officer wore a camera on his body but it was not turned on at the time of the event.
Soon after the discovery, the school enforced a lockdown. They also canceled after-school and evening activities. The school later dismissed students at the regular time of 2:20 p.m.
No one else was found injured. The school reopened on Tuesday as usual and crisis counselors were on hand.
Investigators have so far deemed the incident a suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot.
He will be remembered as someone who was "genuinely a kind person" who smiled all the time. Students and staff would not have expected what happened.
Comegna once spoke to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World newsletter about his job. He said at the time:
"It is great to be able to give the kids what they need for the future. As a police officer, you are usually at the end of the game with people. But with kids, you can start from the beginning."
“That’s what’s good about working with kids. You can change the outcome — you can change the outcome in that person’s life.”
The interim schools Superintendent Verletta White said:
"I am saddened to learn about the death of Officer Joseph Comegna, the school resource officer at Eastern Technical High. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Baltimore County Police Department, and Eastern Tech’s students and staff. We will be sure to have a traumatic loss team at the school to support students and staff Tuesday.”
The Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler also released a statement expressing his condolences:
"So difficult to find the words when a family loses a loved one. All of us in Baltimore County stand in support of the Comegna family at this difficult time.”
According to Shawn Vinson, a county police spokesman, Comegna was a Baltimore officer before he joined the country force in 1997.
Last week Monday, another school employee committed suicide as he sat in his classroom.
Jordan Halane, 31, taught fine arts at the Wessendorff Middle School in Rosenberg.
He was found unconscious at his desk and taken to a local hospital. He passed away soon after.
Students at the school were also put on lockdown and parents were alerted as to what had occurred.
Halane's Facebook page reflected that he got married in 2016. It is still unclear as to the motive of both men who committed the saddening acts.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.
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