Police: Maryland sergeant accused of drug theft commits suicide

Christopher Barnett, 45, police sergeant in Hagerstown, Maryland, committed suicide, has been confirmed

Christopher Barnett, 45, police sergeant in Hagerstown, Maryland, committed suicide, has been confirmed

Christopher Barnett, 45, police sergeant in Hagerstown, Maryland, committed suicide, has been confirmed

Authorities in Maryland say a Hagerstown police sergeant who will appear in court next week on charges of drug theft has committed suicide.

Hagerstown police chief Paul Kifer confirmed the self-inflicted death of the 45-year-old sergeant. Christopher Barnett to The Herald-Mail on Thursday.

Kifer says he does not have many details about Barnett's death, but considers it "another tragedy of the opiate crisis."

Court records say Barnett was accused in February of stealing prescription opioids from a disabled woman in January after she and a friend caught him on video.

The woman, who lived in the Potomac Towers in Hagerstown, noticed that she was missing the pills after Barnett interrogated her in an unrelated case.

He later confronted him and filmed Barnett giving him replacement pills and $ 35 in silent money.

The video was turned over to the police, and Barnett was suspended without payment.

Barnett was accused of stealing prescription opioids from a disabled woman in January after she and a friend caught him on video. The woman, who lived in the Potomac Towers (above) in Hagerstown, noticed that she was missing pills after Barnett interrogated her in an unrelated case.

Barnett was accused of stealing prescription opioids from a disabled woman in January after she and a friend caught him on video. The woman, who lived in the Potomac Towers (above) in Hagerstown, noticed that she was missing pills after Barnett interrogated her in an unrelated case.

Barnett was accused of stealing prescription opioids from a disabled woman in January after she and a friend caught him on video. The woman, who lived in the Potomac Towers (above) in Hagerstown, noticed that she was missing pills after Barnett interrogated her in an unrelated case.

He was then charged in a 10-count indictment, according to The Herald-Mail.

Barnett was charged with five counts of embezzlement, robbery of $ 100 to $ 1,500, obtaining the property of a vulnerable adult, two counts of possession of oxycodone and one charge of distributing oxycodone.

He was also formally charged with allegedly offering to exchange a bag of crack cocaine recovered during the course of his police duties.

"Chris was a valued and highly respected officer during his time here," Kifer said.

"Unfortunately, he was the victim of an addiction to opiates, which made him make some bad decisions."

Barnett's suicide was confirmed on Thursday by Paul Kifer, the current chief of police in Hagerstown.

Barnett's suicide was confirmed on Thursday by Paul Kifer, the current chief of police in Hagerstown.

Barnett's suicide was confirmed on Thursday by Paul Kifer, the current chief of police in Hagerstown.

Neither the police department in Hagerstown nor the coroner in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, where Barnett lived, would confirm when or how the suicide occurred.

Barnett joined the Hagerstown police in 2002. In 2012, he rose to the rank of sergeant.

In light of his suicide, it is likely that the state of Maryland will withdraw the charges.

"We anticipate moving forward to lower or dismiss the charges at this time," said State Attorney Charles P. Strong.

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