Boynton Officer Depressed, Lonely — (The Palm Beach Post)

SSRI Ed note: Friendly, competent police officer takes Prozac + Xanax for loneliness, relationship problem shoots himself in the head, is found by his mom.

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The Palm Beach Post

February 1, 1994


A city police officer who committed suicide Saturday was being treated for depression and had been feeling lonely, a Palm Beach County sheriff’s spokeswoman said Monday.

Officer Richard Brunner shot himself in the head, said Doug Jenkins, an investigator with the county’s Office of the Medical Examiner.  Stress counselors have been conducting group sessions at the police department since Saturday, police Lt. William Galbraith said.

Brunner’s mother found his body about 8:15 a.m. Saturday at his home west of Boynton Beach, sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.

The mother had not heard from her 29-year-old son since Friday morning. She told deputies he had been feeling lonely and been having trouble with a dating relationship.

Brunner was taking Prozac and Xanax for his depression, Barbera said.  Galbraith said officers are required to tell the department of medications only if the drugs would hinder their job performance.

Boynton Beach police officials told deputies Brunner was friendly, but he never talked about his personal life.

Counselors met with 46 officers in weekend stress debriefings, Galbraith said. Additional group sessions were scheduled Monday. Galbraith predicted nearly two thirds of the department’s employees would seek help in dealing with Brunner’s death.

Brunner was assigned to a unit that works in areas of the city in need of extra patrols, Galbraith said.

During his four years with the department, he earned several commendations and frequent praise from his supervisors.

Brunner’s family moved from Pennsylvania to Boca Raton in 1971. He graduated in 1987 from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., where he played varsity football for four years.

Record Number:  PBP02010151