SUICIDE SHAKES CPD
Newly promoted deputy chief apparently fatally shoots self at police facility
A newly promoted Chicago police deputy chief was found dead Tuesday morning of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in the Homan Square police facility on the West Side.
The death of Dion Boyd, 57, was announced at Chicago Police Department headquarters Tuesday afternoon by Supt. David Brown.
Brown, flanked by other members of the CPD’s leadership, said Boyd was “a respected command staff member.”
He was with the department for nearly 30 years.
“There’s really no way to convey or express the magnitude of this loss,” Brown said. “We are shocked and saddened at the loss that is deeply felt by me and the many colleagues and friends with whom Deputy Chief Boyd worked and mentored throughout his career.”
Brown pleaded with officers to “always remember to take care of ourselves and each other.”
“There is no shame in reaching out for help,” he added. “Please, officers, please, stay humble, stay human, stay safe and stay well.”
Boyd was found dead in his office Tuesday morning, a source said. It was unclear when he was shot.
He’d been sworn in as deputy chief of criminal networks on July 15 in a series of leadership changes by Brown. The unit does investigations into gangs and drug trafficking.
Boyd was previously the Area One commander on the South Side and commander of the Wentworth District. His career included experience as a tactical officer, undercover officer in narcotics, homicide detective and internal affairs officer.
Police sources who’ve met with
Boyd recently to discuss investigations said he was interested and upbeat.
Those who knew Boyd said he struggled with the death of Samuel Jimenez, one of his officers in the Wentworth District, who was killed by a gunman at Mercy Hospital and
Medical Center in Bronzeville in
Donovan Price, a crisis responder and frequent presence at shooting scenes across the city, said he got to know Boyd after the Mercy shooting.
Price said Boyd was even-keeled but “always had a permanent pleasant demeanor.” He took pride in his work and “you could see his mind working on what could possibly be built from what was going on,” Price said.
It’s not unprecedented for Chicago police officers to take their lives while on the job. One particularly bad year was 2018 when Chicago Police Officer Brandon Krueger fatally shot himself in the head at a Far South Side police station. Also that year, Sgt. Steven Bechina of the department’s Mass Transit Unit fatally shot himself while on duty in the West Loop.
Suicides have been a continuing problem for the Chicago Police Department for years. In 2017, the U.S. Justice Department reported that the city’s suicide rate among officers was 60% higher than the average of 18.1 officers per 100,000 nationally. The report recommended improvements in mental health counseling available to officers.
Boyd’s body was taken from Homan Square by ambulance in a procession that included a fleet of other Chicago police vehicles. It headed to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, where dozens of other officers had converged in a show of respect. A giant American flag hung between the partially raised ladders of two fire engines.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered her condolences Tuesday afternoon.
“We are truly at a loss of words by the death of Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd,” the mayor wrote on Twitter.
“This devastating loss will not only be felt at every level of this department, but in the countless communities and homes Deputy Chief Boyd touched during his decadeslong service to our city,” Lightfoot wrote.
“To every officer, we want you to know that you are deserving of help and healing, and no one needs to struggle alone.”
She urged any officer “who is suffering and feels they have nowhere to turn” to reach out to the department’s chaplains or employee assistance program if needed.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a $50 million plan to provide free high-speed internet service to 100,000 Chicago Public School students, courtesy of Illinois’ richest man and some of Chicago’s biggest philanthropies.
But the four-year time frame is too long to wait for some of the mayor’s closest City Council allies. They’re taking matters into their own hands to facilitate the CPS shift to a mix of remote and in-classroom learning this fall.
Led by Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), the mayor’s City Council floor leader, they held a news conference Tuesday at Reinberg Elementary School in Portage Park to showcase “wireless, trenchless, solar-powered routers” installed on Chicago Park District and CPS buildings. The 3-by-3-foot routers the size of a window provide “temporary Wi-Fi” with no trenching or cable installation required.
Villegas was joined by Ald. Michael Scott Jr., Lightfoot’s Education Committee chairman, and by mayoral ally Gregory Mitchell (7th). All three, as well as Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), have similar devices being installed in their wards donated for the next six months by Ignite Cities, Mesh++ and Verizon.
Villegas pointed to the difficult transition to remote learning when 100,000 Chicago students still lack reliable high-speed internet access.
“Given that so many communities are not connected, it was a disaster. We need to do a better job. I know the city is working to get ‘Chicago Connected’ up and running. But this here is just a simple tool that gives some immediate opportunities to some communities,” Villegas said.
“Sometimes, government gets in the way. … We need to let the technology firms do what they do best. What we need to tell them is, ‘We have an issue. How would you resolve this?’ instead of us saying, ‘We have an issue and this is how we want you to resolve this.’”
With only a few dozen solar routers being installed, the six-month pilot will barely make a dent in the digital divide.
But Scott said the $1,500 devices at newly renamed Douglass Park in his West Side ward are worth a try.
“There is no line that runs into the park or right around there. The school in the park cannot get a wireless connection. It costs an exorbitant amount of money to trench Comcast,” Scott said.
“What this does is take a signal that already exists and amplifies that signal so that folks who don’t have internet or have a weak signal have a better signal.”
ASHLEE REZIN GARCIA/SUN-TIMES Officers salute outside the Cook County medical examiner’s office as the ambulance carrying the body of CPD Deputy Chief Dion Boyd passes.
Newly promoted CPD Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd (right) is sworn in during a ceremony at CPD headquarters by retiring First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio on July 15. Boyd died Tuesday of an apparent suicide.
Officers lining the street outside the Cook County medical examiner’s office salute as the ambulance carrying the body of Dion Boyd passes.
Police Supt. David Brown announces the death of Deputy Chief Dion Boyd at a news conference Tuesday.
A device that enables people to connect to the internet is mounted to a pole at Peter A. Reinberg Elementary on Tuesday.
Ald. Gilbert Villegas