A World War II veteran reportedly killed himself on Monday with a firearm that he used in the war and brought home to Brooklyn, New York Police Department sources said, according to a New York Post report on Tuesday.
After an argument with his wife, the 95-year-old veteran took his .25-caliber pistol which is at least 80 years old, and discharged a single round at the front door of their home on Seba Avenue in Gerritsen Beach.
Sources said he commented, “Oh, it still works,” before turning the gun on himself and firing another round directly at his head.
The elderly vet staggered out of their home onto the front porch, at which point his wife shouted for help. A neighbor then called 911.
The veteran was later taken into an ambulance and pronounced dead.
Sources said the only medical issue the vet suffered from was high blood pressure, and he was not known to struggle with depression.
The WWII vet kept the antique pistol in his bedroom. Police said he did not have a gun license. Both the firearm and two .25-caliber shells were seized and taken to the NYPD’s evidence collection team to determine their origins.
According to the latest National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report conducted by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, the number and rate of suicides rose between 2001 and 2018 across the United States.
For the first time in nearly 20 years, the number of suicides decreased by 399 from 2018 to 2019.
Veteran suicides rose from 5,989 in 2001 to 6,261 in 2019, which “represented 13.7% of suicides among U.S. adults in 2019.” Elderly veterans aged 55-74 accounted for 38.6 percent of veteran suicides in 2019, making them the largest population subgroup.
“399 fewer, 6,261 to go. We hold this belief to be true: Suicide is preventable on the individual and on the community level,” the VA said in a statement. “We have a plan: We believe in and are implementing a data-founded public health approach across prevention, intervention, and postvention domains within clinical and community settings alike and with tailored applications across population segments and needs.”
“We have the heart and the will, but we know that suicide prevention will require all of us collectively and uniquely engaged within a unifying and overriding goal of saving lives from suicide,” it continued. “We, therefore, continue to seek everyone’s support, partnership, and engagement.”