The death of a Los Angeles Police Department detective who was part of the team investigating a rape allegation against NBA star Derrick Rose is being investigated as a suicide, Whittier police said Wednesday.
Nadine Hernandez, 44, was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the chest around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday in a home in the 8400 block of Via Sierra Ramal, according to Whittier police Officer John Scoggins.
Scoggins said Hernandez was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A firearm was discovered at the scene, police said.
“At this time there are no signs of foul play, and this incident is being investigated as a suicide,” according to police. “However, this is an ongoing investigation and we will continue to collaborate with the Los Angeles County coroner’s office as part of our investigation.”
Police said a relative was in the home at the time of the shooting and called 911, but there’s no evidence the person had any involvement in Hernandez’s death.
Hernandez was a 19-year veteran of the department, the LAPD said.
“We are heartbroken about the tragic death of Detective Nadine Hernandez …,” according to an LAPD statement. “It is a loss that touches us all in the LAPD family.
“Detective Hernandez was among several detectives working on the Derrick Rose case at the time of her death,” police said. “At this point there is no indication that her case work had any connection to her death. The Rose investigation will continue unimpeded.
“Out of respect to her family, friends, and colleagues, who are now learning of this terrible tragedy, we will not be releasing any new information and we will continue to defer to the Whittier Police Department.”
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers, issued a statement saying the detective “will be missed by us all.”
“Today the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department are experiencing profound sorrow and grief due to the loss of our friend and colleague. … We offer our prayers and love to Detective Hernandez’s family during their time of immense grief,” according to the LAPPL.
Hernandez was assigned to the Special Assault Section of the LAPD’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, and she frequently was involved in high- profile sex crime cases, authorities said.
Hernandez last month wrote a letter lodged in federal court in Los Angeles confirming that the department is looking into sexual abuse allegations in connection with a rape complaint against Rose.
The trial of a civil lawsuit filed against Rose and two of his friends by the alleged victim is proceeding in federal court in downtown Los Angeles. The woman alleges the NBA players and his friends sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious in her downtown apartment in 2013.
Anyone with information on the death was urged to call the Whittier Police Department at (562) 567-9270.
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—City News Service