Colleagues, family members and friends Monday were mourning the death of a 41-year-old Montebello police officer who was found dead from a gunshot wound Sunday morning at police headquarters.
“It is with deep personal regret that I inform you of the passing of Officer Kenneth Utsinger,” said a statement issued by Montebello Police Chief Brad Keller. “Kenneth was found deceased on April 21, 2019, at the police facility.”
The officer was wounded when he discharged his service weapon inside the station, according to the Los Angeles Times.
A ruling on his cause of death was pending an autopsy to be performed by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, according to The Times, which reported that the original call for assistance at the station indicated it was an apparent suicide.
Utsinger, who is survived by his wife Heather, had only been on the force for three months, having been sworn in on Jan. 23, according to Keller.
A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Utsinger was raised in Lawton, Oklahoma and was a correctional officer in that state for 11 years before he and his wife moved to California in 2017, along with their two rescue dogs, according to police.
Utsinger’s peers at the Rio Hondo Police Academy voted him “most inspirational recruit,” Keller said.
“We can never prepare for losing someone so unexpectedly and we can certainly never understand why someone with so much potential and passion for public service would leave us too soon,” Keller said. “We can ask why, only to never really ever get a true answer, since the person who holds that answer is no longer with us.”
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