A San Diego police officer facing hit-and-run and drunk driving charges was found dead in the backyard of his home Monday morning, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
David Hall, 41, was discovered slumped against the rear wall of his home in the Clairemont Mesa neighborhood of San Diego. His wife called police shortly after the 10 a.m. shooting.
Hall, a motorcycle officer, was off duty in February when he allegedly struck another car on a freeway onramp, injuring a female passenger, and fled the scene. Police later arrested him at his home. He was awaiting trial after pleading not guilty in May.
His death was the latest blow to a department that has suffered a spate of tragedies and misconduct allegations in recent months. Last month, veteran detective Donna Williams, 52, was found dead in her home, the victim of a knife attack that also killed her daughter. Her son was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Several officers have been accused of misconduct, including spousal abuse, rape, stalking and excessive force. The department has beefed up its internal affairs unit and supervisors now receive "early intervention" training on how to spot troublesome officers.
Hall, a father of three, had been placed on paid administrative duty. During his 14-year career, he had been a patrol officer and served on specialized narcotics and parole apprehension teams. In 2008, he began to work in the traffic division and in 2010 he became a motorcycle officer, according to the department.
After his arrest, Hall was ordered by a judge to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Police Chief William Lansdowne said Hall had met with a mental health professional Sunday and was scheduled to appear in court again Thursday for a pretrial hearing.
"The San Diego Police Department was very aware of the stress he was under and had taken every effort to get Officer Hall the help he needed," Lansdowne said. "Unfortunately, even with the help and support provided, Officer Hall unexpectedly decided to take his own life."
McClatchy-Tribune News Service