Saturday, October 31, 2009

Burbank Cop: Shot to the Head or to the Chest??

Seems like an easy enough question to answer - unless you are hiding something that is.

Here is one of many questions that need to asked and answered regarding the tragic death of Burbank Police Sgt Neil Gunn on Thursday, October 29, 2009.

The media is giving conflicting reports.

The Burbank Leader's first account of the supposed suicide of Neil Gunn on October 29, 2009 at 1:38pm says this: "Witnesses said the man was heavy-set and had a gunshot wound to the chest, but police would not confirm their accounts." (Source note: This article no longer exists on the Burbank Leader website but I had saved it on my blog here along with the updates The Burbank Leader updates, by the way, say nothing of a head shot nor of a chest shot.)

However, the October 30, 2009 LA Examiner says this:
"The Burbank Leader is reporting that Sergeant Neil Thomas Gunn Sr., a 22-year veteran of the Burbank Police Department, shot and killed himself on a residential street corner Thursday morning. Police responded to the corner of North Sunset Canyon Drive and East Harvard Road at approximately 11:40 a.m., where Gunn was pronounced dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head."

So, which was it... the CHEST or the HEAD???

This is important as a person committing suicide, especially a cop, would not shoot himself in the chest as his hand may jerk and he may miss the vital organs. However, a shot to the head most certainly would do the horrid job.


What was the weapon?

Where is the weapon now?

Who were the witnesses? Names please.

Who called 911 and what was said? Recording please.

Why no mention of the possibilty of foul play by either the police or media?

Gunn was a known whistleblower and he had been threatened. (source:

More questions need to be asked AND ANSWERED!

Please see original post with complete Burbank Leader articles from October 29, 2009:

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City mourns death of officer

Candles forming the number 7943 were placed at the foot of the city of Burbank Police & Fire Department building statues on Third Street in Burbank, on Friday. Burbank police sergeant Neil Thomas Gunn shot himself at Sunset Canyon and Harvard in Burbank one day earlier. (Raul Roa/Leader)

Colleagues of Sgt. Neil Thomas Gunn grieve over veteran officer, who committed suicide Thursday in public place.

By Christopher Cadelago
Published: Last Updated Friday, October 30, 2009 10:02 PM PDT

DOWNTOWN — Flags outside police headquarters flapped at half-staff as candles were arranged to indicate the badge number of a sergeant who killed himself Thursday on a residential street corner.

It was the first public display of grief over the suicide of Burbank police Sgt. Neil Thomas Gunn, who died Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the corner of North Sunset Canyon Drive and East Harvard Road.

Colleagues and passersby stopped in front of the police station Friday to remember the 22-year veteran of the force whose list of commendations included Ministerial Officer of the Year in 1992 and two Professional Esteem awards. Some wept, while others stood paralyzed by the silence and magnitude of the moment.

Gunn had deep roots in what officials affectionately refer to as the “City Family.”

He was also one of 12 officers named in federal grand jury subpoenas as part of an FBI investigation into possible civil rights violations and excessive use of force.

FBI officials would not specify when the probe began, how long it would last, or expand on why the officers were named. Several of the officers listed in the probe — Bill Taylor, Omar Rodriguez and Steve Karagiosian — have also filed lawsuits against the Police Department alleging racial discrimination, harassment and on-the-job retaliation.

The Glendale Police Department, which is handling the investigation, has so far found no evidence of foul play or that anyone assisted in the suicide, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Glendale police will backfill Burbank shifts when members of the department are unavailable to work, he said.

Residents of the hillside enclave, located below the Castaway and DeBell Golf Club, spent Thursday morning outside their homes calming neighbors who feared they were in danger as detectives confirmed Gunn had shot himself.

Erminio Iacobellis, who lives in the 1000 block of East San Jose Avenue, said he never imagined a high-profile slaying within earshot of his home.

“This doesn’t happen in the city,” Iacobellis said, staring across the police barrier. “Nothing like this happens here.”

Police were called to the intersection about 11:40 a.m. after witnesses reported seeing Gunn turn the gun on himself, Sgt. Thor Merich said. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Police Chief Tim Stehr and high-ranking members of the department evaluated the crime scene before Los Angeles County coroners arrived.

Officers sectioned off several blocks of Sunset Canyon Drive and surrounding streets, shielding views of the body from the public as detectives investigated.

“This incident is a devastating tragedy,” Lt. John Dilibert said in a statement issued by the department. “The members of the Police Department and all our city employees share in the grief with his family during this difficult time.”

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Reporting with tact

Published: Last Updated Friday, October 30, 2009 10:02 PM PDT

A woman throws herself off the top floor of a high-rise hotel. A man overdoses in his bedroom. A police officer shoots and kills himself on a public sidewalk.

For newspapers, assigning news value to suicide has always been a precarious dance. We don’t want to romanticize the act, but at the same time, we don’t want to be seen as ignoring “the news.”

“News” is many things to different people, but most newspapers have implemented a set of internal guidelines to help dictate which suicides get covered, and which do not.

As with most policies, especially when communicating them to a diverse public, it’s best to be blunt, so we’ll spare you the hyperbole.

Generally, we do not report on suicides taking place in a private residence, unless the person is a public official or figure, or has recently been in the news. Public suicides are typically reported, but even then, there’s a complicated set of guidelines that come into play.

On Thursday, a Burbank Police officer named in an FBI probe into the department shot and killed himself on a residential street corner. It continues to be covered extensively due to the nature of the act and his status in the federal investigation.

But when a woman jumped to her death from a top floor of the Burbank Holiday Inn this summer, it was reported as a news brief, without her name. The death occurred in the public eye, but the woman herself was not a public figure.

And in other cases, there are periodic suicides that occur in private that we choose not to report because it would either be gratuitous, or cause more harm.

The act of suicide, no matter the setting or method, represents one of the most tragic points of human desperation. Reporting them is never an easy task, nevermind the pain and suffering that only get compounded when affected loved ones see it played out in print.

But we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t roll up our sleeves and report that tragedy when it represents a significant impact to the general public, either to a news event, public safety or otherwise.

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"Meanwhile, a lot of unanswered questions about Gunn’s death. The press release from the city of Burbank/Burbank PD called the gunshot wound on Gunn’s body self-inflicted. Some, including a resident I spoke to who lives near the scene of the tragedy, doubt the suicide conclusion."
A Writer's Grove

"Many in Burbank are asking why would an officer who works in Burbank select a residential neighborhood to end his life. Uncomfortable as it all may be many questions must be asked inorder to bring some meaning and hope to the recent events in Burbank. We need to know and understand what brought us to this dark day in Burbank History."
What's Up in Burbank

"Yesterday we called out the local newspaper about their highly misleading and twice-repeated implication that there might have been a suspicious and evasive personal motive in Sgt. Gunn’s suicide. The Leader all but spelled out the relationship between Gunn and the fact that he was named as one of many BPD employees whose records were subpoenaed by the FBI as part of their ongoing civil rights investigation."
Burbank, California

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Here is Bill Taylor's lawsuit which was the last one filed so far; it gives some history of the problems in the Burbank Police Department:

Burbank Police Captain Bill Taylor
"Moral Compass"

9/22/09 Burbank Leader Article: Police Captain Sues City

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Received a couple of interesting emails tonight:

"It almost seems that everyone is involved!!!! Although the Mayor and City Council are usually only told what the City Staff wants them to know or believe. The Police Commission is trying to get to the bottom of things but when they ask questions, they are told that the questions were not on the Agenda and therefore cannot be discussed. The Police Commission has requested more power from the City Council. Otherwise, they are, and have always been, a group of people that have gotten direction from the Police Chief and Juli Scott, Chief Asst. City Attorney. In the past they were really kind of a joke. Now they are trying to gain more power; which I think is a good thing."

"Although a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief that Glendale PD is investigating the suicide, the fact remains that the "City Attorney" of Glendale, is none other than Scott Howard; who happens to be the husband of Juli Scott, Chief Asst. City Attorney for the City of Burbank!!! Juli Scott has been the main advisor to the Burbank Police Dept. for the past 20 years. She is the person I feel should be taking the blame for the position the BPD is in today. Now, if the City Attorney is assigned the duty of overseeing and direction of Police Dept matters, than how is this not a conflict?? Just wondering........ Does this sound strange to you???"

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1 comment:

  1. Great article, I'll continue to read on, and THANK YOU for reporting the truth.

    Proverbs 14:32
    When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.

    For the family and friends of Sgt. Gunn. God bless you all.

    Psalm 34:18
    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit


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Over the years my opinions have changed but this will never change: Jesus Christ, Lord, God and Savior, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for my sin.