BROOKLYN - A police lieutenant committed suicide Thursday, less than a week after he ordered another officer to Taser an emotionally disturbed man who then fell to his death, police say.
The body of Lt. Michael Pigott, a 21-year police veteran, was found at the NYPD training barracks at Floyd Bennett Field, where he apparently shot himself on the day of his 46th birthday using someone else?s weapon, police say.
Pigott had been stripped of his gun and badge and reassigned to desk duty after the Sept. 24 incident in which police fired a Taser stun gun at Iman Morales. Witnesses say Morales was standing naked on a ledge of a shuttered storefront in Bedford-Stuyvesant and threatened police officers with a fluorescent light bulb. After receiving the 50,000 volt jolt, Morales, who suffered from a bipolar disorder, lost his balance and fell 10 feet to his death.
Police officials denounced the conduct of the responding officers, saying the use of the stun gun was in violation of department guidelines, which explicitly bar their use "in situations where the subject may fall from an elevated surface."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered refresher training on how to deal with the mentally ill and appointed a new commander of the Emergency Service Unit.
On Wednesday, Pigott, who was part of the 440-member elite unit, apologized for his behavior, saying he was "truly sorry."
Shortly following the announcement of Pigott?s suicide Thursday, Commissioner Kelly released a statement, extending condolences on behalf of the NYPD to ?the family and friends of Lt. Michael Pigott, who served with dedication for 21 years.?
Pigott is survived by his wife and three children.
While police officers poured into Kings County Hospital to pay respects to Pigott and his family, relatives and friends gathered at a Greenwich Village church to bid farewell to Morales. He will later be buried in Rosehill, New Jersey.
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Witnesses:Man falls to his death after police TaseringNYPD:Use of Taser may have violated guidelinesEmergencyservice officers trained after Bed-Stuy fall