TORONTO — The body of a Toronto police officer suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder has been found in Lake Ontario along the city’s waterfront, police sources confirm.
The body of Darius Garda, a constable with 51 Division, was discovered near Polson Pier Thursday morning after police received a report a man went into the water the previous afternoon.
A police source told Global News Garda had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder ever since he was involved in a police shooting April 19, 2010 at the foot of Cherry and Commissioners Streets — nearby where Garda’s body was found.
The Special Investigations Unit found Garda and several other police officers opened fired on a car driven by Wieslaw Duda after Duda ignored commands to stop and instead accelerated into Garda and other officers, who had pursued Duda after he was seen driving erratically.
One officer was hit by the car, smashing into the windshield and rolling off its hood, and several police simultaneously opened fire. Bullets from Garda’s weapon and that of a second officer struck and killed Duda, in what the police watchdog’s investigation ruled a justified use of force.
A Facebook post from last November says a fundraising campaign on the site YouCaring had been set up for Garda, who was “off due to illness.” The YouCaring page could not be accessed Thursday.
“Please help our brother in this difficult time,” a summary of the funding page states, using a term police use to refer to each other.
READ MORE: 13 first responders, 13 suicides, 10 weeks
Toronto police tweeted condolences for the death of one of their own.
A police spokeswoman said only that an autopsy on the body is scheduled for Friday.
This is the second police officer found dead in Toronto this week.
An Ontario Provincial Police spokesman said a member of that force died in Toronto on Wednesday.
Spokesman Sgt. Peter Leon said the officer died while off-duty, and had spent 10 years with the OPP’s drug enforcement unit out of London, Ont.
Toronto police are investigating that death, Leon said.
Watch below: Post-traumatic stress disorder among first responders is back in the national spotlight this week after the body of a Toronto police officer was found along Lake Ontario. Sources tell Global News the officer had been suffering from PTSD. Shallima Maharaj has more on the toll some say PTSD is taking.
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