Baytown, TX – Baytown Police Officer John “Stewart” Beasley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Aug. 2.
Officer Beasley, 46, was considered a “positive” and “upbeat” member of the 176-member Baytown Police Department, and his colleagues were all dumbfounded that he had taken his own life, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“He was one of those guys, he would talk to just about anybody,” Baytown Police Lieutenant Steve Dorris told the Houston Chronicle. “A friend of mine – a friend of anybody in the organization.”
Authorities had searched for five days for Officer Beasley.
The 23-year veteran of the Baytown police force was last heard from at about 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 2 when he left his home in the Cove area, KTRK reported.
His son arrived home around 4:15 p.m. and found his father missing, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said during a press conference.
He became concerned and contacted some law enforcement officers who were personal friends of Officer Beasley to ask if they’d seen him, and they had not.
Those officers looked for Officer Beasley everywhere they and his wife could think of, but didn’t find a sign of him anywhere.
Officer Beasley had left his police gun belt laid out inside the home, which the sheriff said was one of the first troubling indicators that the officer might have planned to take his own life.
“We were in hopes that he was just trying to take some time away from the stress of work and life,” Sheriff Hawthorne told the Houston Chronicle. “That’s not what it turned into.”
After friends were unable to locate him, Officer Beasley’s wife contacted the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and officially reported her husband missing, Sheriff Hawthorne said.
Deputies from the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, Baytown police officers, dog teams from Alpha Team Search and Rescue from League City, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s K9 team all worked together throughout the weekend to locate the missing officer but were unsuccessful, the sheriff said.
The officer’s cell phone was found in the woods behind his residence on Monday, and the battery had been removed from the phone, which explained why there had been no signal when they searched for it, Sheriff Hawthorne said.
On Tuesday, drones, helicopters, and two teams of cadaver dogs were brought in to assist with the search, KTRK reported.
Officer Beasley’s body was spotted from a helicopter shortly thereafter, lying in an agricultural field about three miles from his home.
Officials said the officer hadn’t shown any signs of depression, KHOU reported.
“We’re supposed to be the ones that stand in the face of evil and deal with the chaos and trauma and problems of society,” Lt. Dorris said. “But we don’t want to admit we have a problem when it comes to that.”
Officer Beasley was well-known as a weightlifting enthusiast and personal trainer who blogged about fitness on the Baytown PD’s intranet pages, the Houston Chronicle reported. He also loved baseball.
He handled some of the police department’s community relations and was known to be a “cop’s cop” by the officers with whom he worked.
Officer Beasley had recently purchased a three-acre property on which he was building a dream home for his wife and son, KHOU reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Baytown Police Officer Stewart Beasley, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.