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Calif. Chief Dies From Self-Inflicted Wound

The police chief of Cerritos College was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a Westminster motel, authorities said Tuesday evening.

Richard "Buk" Bukowiecki, 47, was found about 3:30 a.m. Monday in a room at a Super 8 motel in the 15000 block of Beach Boulevard, according to the Orange County coroner's office.

College President Linda Lacy told The Times that Bukowiecki was an excellent police chief who was highly respected on the campus.

"The Cerritos College family is deeply saddened by the death of Chief Bukowiecki," she said.

He was "always calm and had a cool demeanor," Lacy said. "He was very intelligent and rational thinking."

She said that "we do not know and may not ever know the reason" for his suicide.

Bukowiecki became the college police chief in August 2007 after serving as interim chief, college officials said in a statement at the time.

He joined the department as a part-time dispatcher in 1988 and became an officer a year later. He served as a lieutenant for 11 years before becoming interim chief, school officials said.

The college credited Bukowiecki with helping to create an innovative program in the late 1990s that has allowed students majoring in administration of justice to work for the campus Police Department and gain practical experience.

Some of those students have become officers with police agencies in Long Beach, Los Angeles and elsewhere, according to the college.

Grief counselors were on hand Tuesday to support Police Department and other campus employees.

Bukowiecki was a resident of Huntington Beach. Memorial services have not been finalized.

Copyright 2014 - Los Angeles Times

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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