Broken Blue Line: Families of fallen officers remember loved onesPosted: Updated:
Friends and family said goodbye to NYPD officer Robert Echeverria Tuesday, the ninth officer to take their own life in 2019. Now, the department is trying to put an end to the mental health crisis.
News 12's Katie Lusso spoke with the families of two fallen officers -- Sgt. Joseph Pizzarro and Ofc. Jason Goldberg.
Pizzaro had been on the job for nearly 15 years, was married to his high school sweetheart and was the father to two boys. On Jan. 13, 2018, his wife Marisa woke up to a text which would be his last to her.
The text read, "Goodbye. I love you. Just know my final thoughts were you and our boys. You and our boys are my heart and soul. Please don't let them forget about me. I'm sorry." Pizarro was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a hotel room in Staten Island.
Marisa Pizzaro says her husband has been struggling with his mental health for a while.
"There's the fun, happy Joe who I fell in love with ... then there's angry Joe," says Marisa Pizarro. "Then there's quiet Joe, and that's when he was the most depressed."
Goldberg joined the NYPD in 2010. Goldberg's brother Justin says in the weeks and month's before his death, he saw changes that were more subtle at the time, but in retrospect were clear.
"He became a lot more brash I want to say. He became almost more impulsive," says Justin Goldberg. "He was very, very fixated on the past. This was not something he had always done. He was always somebody who lived in the present and then suddenly it was about the past."
On Feb. 25, Jason Goldberg hanged himself.
"It hurt every day, and so does the rest of my family," says Justin Goldberg.
Both men, NYPD officers who took their own lives, and according to their families, feared speaking up about what they were going through. They say the men worried it would harm their career and could even lead to losing their jobs.
"All those things that he used as a reason he didn't want to come forward ... we lost it all anyways," says Marisa Pizzaro.