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AMID KATRINA CHAOS, OFFICER COMMITS SUICIDE

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Life wasn't supposed to end this way for Sgt. Paul Accardo: alone in chaos.

He wrote a note telling anyone who found him to contact a fellow officer. He was precise, and thoughtful, to the end. Then he stuck a gun into his mouth and killed himself.

Accardo, 36, was one of two city police officers who committed suicide last week as New Orleans descended into death and destruction after Hurricane Katrina swept through. He was found in an unmarked patrol car Saturday in a downtown parking lot.

His funeral is planned for Wednesday.

Back when life was normal and structured, Accardo served as one of the police department's chief spokesmen. He reported murders, hostage situations and rapes in measured words, his bespectacled face benign and familiar on the nightly news.

"Paul was a stellar guy. A perfectionist. Everything had to be just right," recalled Sgt. Joe Narcisse, who went to police academy with Accardo and worked with him in the public affairs office.

Uniform crisply pressed, office in order, everything just right on his desk. That was Accardo.

"I'm the jokester in the office. I'd move stuff on his desk and he didn't like that," said Capt. Marlon Defillo, Accardo's boss. "He was ready to call the crime lab to find out who messed with his desk."

Maybe, Defillo reckoned, he killed himself because he lost hope that order would ever be restored in the city.

A public information officer, the captain said, turns the senseless -- murder, rape, mayhem -- into something orderly for the public. "It's like dominoes scattered across a table and putting them in order."

But in New Orleans for the past week, the chaos seemed endless.

Like the rest of the department, Accardo worked long, difficult days -- sometimes 20 hours. He waded through the mass of flesh and stench in the Louisiana Superdome. He saw the dead in the streets.

Defillo remembered how bad Accardo felt when he was unable to help women stranded on the interstate and pleading for water and food. One woman said her baby had not had water in three days.

He even wanted to stop and help the animals lost amid the ruin of New Orleans, Defillo said.

Unable to stop the madness and hurt, Accardo sank into depression.

Narcisse remembered being on the telephone with him, complaining about the flooding when his old academy buddy cut him off mid-sentence: "Joe. Joe. I can't talk to you right now." He couldn't handle it anymore, Narcisse said.

"It was like you were having an awful conversation with someone who died in your family," he said.

Accardo -- who also lost his home in the flood waters -- looked like a zombie, like someone who hadn't slept in year, Defillo said. But so did so many on the 1,600-member force.

Officials said Monday that between 400 to 500 officers were unaccounted for, many tending to their homes or looking for their families, and some dropping out. To lessen the stress, officers were being cycled off duty and given five-day vacations in Las Vegas and Atlanta, where they also would receive counseling.

Said Mayor Ray Nagin: "I've got some firefighters and police officers that have been pretty much traumatized."

Police Superintendent Eddie Compass didn't know how many had abandoned their jobs outright, but denied that it was a large number.

"No police department in the history of the world was asked to do what we (were) asked," he said.

But Defillo said he never thought Accardo would kill himself.

"We kept telling him, 'There's going to be a brighter day; S**K it up,"' Defillo said. "He couldn't shake it."

According to the obituary in the Advocate of Baton Rouge, Accardo left a wife, Anne; his mother, Catherine; a brother; a sister; and eight nieces and nephews.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Guest blue-eyes

Our PRAYERS are with ALL of the families, We here in Harrison,N.J. are doing our best to try to help....It's not much but the children in schools are collecting spare change and what-ever else they can to send..( one 10 year old girl even gave all of her change from her piggy-bank- $23.- to her school )

The town is even collecting bottled water to send..I hope that our Salvation Army sens some clothes...I know alot of people that dropped off clothing this week.

AGAIN-----GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!

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Guest Town Resident
AMID KATRINA CHAOS, OFFICER COMMITS SUICIDE

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Life wasn't supposed to end this way for Sgt. Paul Accardo: alone in chaos.

He wrote a note telling anyone who found him to contact a fellow officer. He was precise, and thoughtful, to the end. Then he stuck a gun into his mouth and killed himself.

Accardo, 36, was one of two city police officers who committed suicide last week as New Orleans descended into death and destruction after Hurricane Katrina swept through. He was found in an unmarked patrol car Saturday in a downtown parking lot.

His funeral is planned for Wednesday.

Back when life was normal and structured, Accardo served as one of the police department's chief spokesmen. He reported murders, hostage situations and rapes in measured words, his bespectacled face benign and familiar on the nightly news.

"Paul was a stellar guy. A perfectionist. Everything had to be just right," recalled Sgt. Joe Narcisse, who went to police academy with Accardo and worked with him in the public affairs office.

Uniform crisply pressed, office in order, everything just right on his desk. That was Accardo.

"I'm the jokester in the office. I'd move stuff on his desk and he didn't like that," said Capt. Marlon Defillo, Accardo's boss. "He was ready to call the crime lab to find out who messed with his desk."

Maybe, Defillo reckoned, he killed himself because he lost hope that order would ever be restored in the city.

A public information officer, the captain said, turns the senseless -- murder, rape, mayhem -- into something orderly for the public. "It's like dominoes scattered across a table and putting them in order."

But in New Orleans for the past week, the chaos seemed endless.

Like the rest of the department, Accardo worked long, difficult days -- sometimes 20 hours. He waded through the mass of flesh and stench in the Louisiana Superdome. He saw the dead in the streets.

Defillo remembered how bad Accardo felt when he was unable to help women stranded on the interstate and pleading for water and food. One woman said her baby had not had water in three days.

He even wanted to stop and help the animals lost amid the ruin of New Orleans, Defillo said.

Unable to stop the madness and hurt, Accardo sank into depression.

Narcisse remembered being on the telephone with him, complaining about the flooding when his old academy buddy cut him off mid-sentence: "Joe. Joe. I can't talk to you right now." He couldn't handle it anymore, Narcisse said.

"It was like you were having an awful conversation with someone who died in your family," he said.

Accardo -- who also lost his home in the flood waters -- looked like a zombie, like someone who hadn't slept in year, Defillo said. But so did so many on the 1,600-member force.

Officials said Monday that between 400 to 500 officers were unaccounted for, many tending to their homes or looking for their families, and some dropping out. To lessen the stress, officers were being cycled off duty and given five-day vacations in Las Vegas and Atlanta, where they also would receive counseling.

Said Mayor Ray Nagin: "I've got some firefighters and police officers that have been pretty much traumatized."

Police Superintendent Eddie Compass didn't know how many had abandoned their jobs outright, but denied that it was a large number.

"No police department in the history of the world was asked to do what we (were) asked," he said.

But Defillo said he never thought Accardo would kill himself.

"We kept telling him, 'There's going to be a brighter day; S**K it up,"' Defillo said. "He couldn't shake it."

According to the obituary in the Advocate of Baton Rouge, Accardo left a wife, Anne; his mother, Catherine; a brother; a sister; and eight nieces and nephews.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A sad story, but why print it here ? We all read newspapers.

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He was a coward who took the easy way out. Just like the other 300 officers in NO who left their job and didn't come back. They all should be fired and replaced with officers who will do the job.

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He was a coward who took the easy way out.

How callous and indifferent can you be, buddy?

I’m sure this was not posted by either a police officer or a fireman, but rather by someone who needs to grow up and get a little perspective and wisdom in his life.

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AMID KATRINA CHAOS, OFFICER COMMITS SUICIDE

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Life wasn't supposed to end this way for Sgt. Paul Accardo: alone in chaos.

When its all said in done , how many of us would of picked our career over our family. Many of those officers took their family to safety. Thats a decision some of us may never have to make and the officers that left their jobs to care from their families im sure can live with the decisions they made. Who are we to question the motives of others. Was this cop a coward? maybe? Or was he just another victim of this natural tragedy? He was failed by the agencies there to help. He was asked to do his job, for extended time, under unusual and extreme conditions. Everyone has a breaking point and we sometimes fail to see that in others because we are so consumed with nonsense.

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Yea right, like the 2 Officers who were caught in another state fleeing in a NO Patrol Car. NO was one of the most corrupt PD's in the country. They were mismanaged and had no leadership. You could see the difference when the Coast Guard and National Guard and the 82nd. Airborne came in and took over the security for the city. The Mayor blamed everyone but himself. He had 300 buses that he let flood out in a lot that could have been used to evacuate poor people. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, and thats what happened to NO.

And, while the City had no money left to pay their bills, they sent Police Officers on a 5 day paid vacation to Las Vegas. So much for helping their families out. They probably were stuck in the superbowl or some other hellhole. I hope none of your donations were used to pay for an all expense trip to LV. My donation went directly to the Red Cross and I applaud the Officers who reported to duty and continued to work under trying conditions. Good riddance to the miscreants who went AWOL. :P

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AMID KATRINA CHAOS, OFFICER COMMITS SUICIDE

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Life wasn't supposed to end this way for Sgt. Paul Accardo: alone in chaos.

When its all said in done , how many of us would of picked our career over our family. Many of those officers took their family to safety. Thats a decision some of us may never have to make and the officers that left their jobs to care from their families im sure can live with the decisions they made. Who are we to question the motives of others. Was this cop a coward? maybe? Or was he just another victim of this natural tragedy? He was failed by the agencies there to help. He was asked to do his job, for extended time, under unusual and extreme conditions. Everyone has a breaking point and we sometimes fail to see that in others because we are so consumed with nonsense.

Nicely put.

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Guest How dare you

How dare you insult him - may I ask "What would you do", I take it that from your callous statement you would leave your family and defend the town - yeah righ tI'm sure.

It's people like you that turn my stomach.

I applaud the few that stayed behind and I sympathize with the many that left. They were given a difficult choice and I see nothing wrong with them taking their family over their career!

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How dare you insult him - may I ask "What would you do", I take it that from your callous statement you would leave your family and defend the town - yeah righ tI'm sure.

It's people like you that turn my stomach.

I applaud the few that stayed behind and I sympathize with the many that left.  They were given a difficult choice and I see nothing wrong with them taking their family over their career!

To a man, a family and his dog is his first concern- cop, fireman or whatever.

Go Texas!!!

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