A priest in Brooklyn, New York, has killed himself inside a church rectory, police sources said on Sunday, explaining that the suicide occurred two weeks ago.
The body of Father Patrick Burns, 57, was found a little after 5 p.m. on December 14 in the living room of the rectory at Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Windsor Terrace, The New York Post quoted sources as saying.
The Post said “he had slash marks on his left wrist, and an empty bottle of the antipsychotic drug Risperidone was discovered in the room, sources said. Police also found a 16-page suicide note”.
“I’m shocked and amazed,” the church’s music director, Ivonne Rojas, told The Post on Sunday. “I would never think he did this.”
Burns’ death is a “tragedy” a Diocese of Brooklyn spokeswoman added.
According to the newspaper, “police discovered the dead priest after church pastor Father Larry Ryan requested a wellness check for him”.
Burns struggled with health issues in the past. He spent an unspecified amount of time away from the pulpit on medical leave at one point, according to an obituary in The Tablet magazine.
“The Brooklyn native attended Good Shepherd School in Marine Park and later Sheepshead Bay High School before attending college and the seminary, according to the obituary.
“Burns, who spoke Spanish in addition to English, was ordained in 1992 and served in the Spanish-speaking New York City neighborhoods of Bushwick, Jackson Heights, Sunset Park and Corona, along with Woodside and Belle Harbor, the obit noted,” The Post added.