A senior South Korean cop being investigated over the horrific Halloween stampede in Seoul was found dead in a suspected suicide Friday.
The 55-year-old intelligence chief, only identified by the surname Jeong, was found by a family member at his home in Seoul just before 1 p.m., according to Yonhap news agency.
He appears to have threatened suicide in text messages sent Thursday to colleagues at Yongsan Police Station, the state-run news service said.
It came as the death toll rose to 157 on Friday after a crushed soldier was pronounced dead, Yonhap also said. Of the nearly 200 also injured, 11 are still being treated in hospitals, officials told the agency.
Jeong had been accused of deleting intelligence reports warning of serious safety concerns as at least 100,000 people flocked to the popular nightlife district of Itaewon ahead of the Oct. 29 mass tragedy.
Transcripts of emergency calls, released earlier this month, showed a hotline received 11 reports of dangerous crowding nearly four hours before the horror unfolded. However, no action was taken.
The dead were mainly young women, including a handful of teenagers and 26 foreign nationals.
National Police Commissioner General Yoon Hee-keun told lawmakers that the intelligence chief at the Yongsan station had ordered the records to be deleted and would be investigated.
Some of those lawmakers called for his arrest and punishment.
He faced possible charges including abuse of authority, destruction of evidence and professional negligence resulting in death, Yonhap said.
Jeong’s death was now part of a separate investigation, police confirmed to the agency.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
With Post wires