NEW YORK (Reuters) - A high-ranking New York City police officer who was reportedly questioned as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe took his own life on Friday, police said.
Inspector Michael Ameri was found dead inside his vehicle with an "apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound" in Babylon, a town on Long Island in New York, according to a statement from the city's police department.
Several local news outlets reported that Ameri had been interviewed as part of an ongoing investigation into whether senior police officers accepted gifts and travel from businessmen in exchange for official favors.
Investigators from several agencies are pursuing a number of interconnected strands, including aspects of Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising activities.
De Blasio has said he and his administration have not committed any wrongdoing and are cooperating with authorities. His office has received subpoenas from both state and federal prosecutors, and the counsel to the state Board of Elections recommended in January that prosecutors look into possible violations in connection with his fundraising efforts on behalf of state Senate Democrats in 2014.
Ameri was not among several high-ranking officers who have been disciplined as a result of the police investigation. Both the New York Post and the New York Daily News, citing police sources, reported on Friday he had been questioned but added that it was unclear whether he was a target of the probe.
The office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, which is leading the federal investigation, declined to comment.
Ameri was the commanding officer of the department's highway patrol unit.
In a statement, Roy Richter, the president of the union that represents senior police officers, said, "We are heartbroken at the loss of Michael Ameri and ask that you keep his family in your prayers during this traumatic time. Inspector Ameri is known as a dedicated police officer who excelled in all of his command assignments."
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