A young EMT worker has died by an apparent suicide amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to authorities.
John Mondello, 23, was found dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head by the river near Astoria Park around 6:45 p.m. on Friday, the New York Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE.
He did not leave a suicide note, police said.
Mondello had started working for the New York City Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services in January and was assigned at Station 18 in the Bronx, according to New York Daily News.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said: "The loss of this young EMT who chose to bravely serve others is a tragedy for our entire department. We all mourn his loss and our prayers are with his family."
Friends of Mondello told the New York Post that the surge in deaths amid the coronavirus crisis took a toll on the EMT prior to his death.
“He told me he was experiencing a lot of anxiety witnessing a lot of death, he’d feel it was a heavy experience when he’d fail to save a life,” Al Javier said.
A fellow FDNY EMS Academy graduate, who described Mondello as “always very peppy, very happy," told the outlet that the EMT had previously reached out and said that he didn’t like his new job. The friend said the two discussed the “chaos” of the pandemic and and how they were seeing “people passing away right in front of you."
"We don’t have the same union benefits as other city workers. It’s really stressful to work long hours and not get paid as much,” the friend told the New York Post.
New York has been one of the hardest hit states in the pandemic. According to a New York Times database, there have been at least 292,027 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 17,303 deaths in the state as of Monday afternoon.
In the United States, there have been at least 965,214 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 49,465 deaths coronavirus-related illness.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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