A Virginia cop whose job was to investigate child sex crimes reportedly killed himself when police tried to arrest him for having a relationship with a 13-year-old boy.
David Edward Abbott, 39, refused to surrender to officers from the Gainesville Police Department, who showed up at his home on Dec. 14, the New York Daily News reported. Initially, police were concerned the disgraced detective intended on forcing a standoff with officers, and began clearing out nearby homes out of fear there could be a shoot-out.
While Gainesville detectives were talking to Abbott, the accused detective pulled out a handgun and shot himself, police said. Abbott was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police began looking into Abbott when they were tipped off that he had started a relationship with the then-11-year-old victim in 2013, the Prince William County Police Department wrote in a press release. Abbott reportedly met the boy while coaching a team for the Prince William County hockey league.
"The contact consisted of soliciting sexual acts via phone, text, social media and email," county police wrote in the press release. "The accused also had face to face interactions with the victim."
While they were looking into the accusations, detectives say they discovered Abbott had started a relationship with another youth hockey player, beginning in 2008 when the boy was 13 years old.
Abbott, a Manassas City police detective who served on the Northern Virginia-Washington D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, made national headlines in 2014 when he tried to get a search warrant allowing him to photograph the erect penis of a 17-year-old boy. The boy was accused of sending images of his genitals to his 15-year-old girlfriend, and Abbott argued that taking photos of the boy's penis would supply the evidence prosecutors needed to bring the case to trial.
"They’re using a statute that was designed to protect children from being exploited in a sexual manner, to take a picture of this young man in a sexually explicit manner. The irony is incredible," the boy's attorney, Carlos Flores Laboy, told The Washington Post in a 2014 story about the sexting case.
Eventually, the charges against the boy were dropped. Abbott filed a defamation suit against Laboy afterward, but the civil case was eventually dropped as well.
When they went to arrest Abbott on Dec. 14, investigators had planned to charge the detective with four felonies, including two counts each of using a communications device to solicit a minor, and indecent liberties with a minor.
Abbott's former employer, the Manassas City Police Department, requested privacy on behalf of Abbott's family "as we grieve and struggle to accept the realities of such a loss," according to a statement issued Dec. 15.
"Prince William County Police is still heavily involved in investigating the allegations to ensure justice and that victim assistance is made available for any potential victims and their families," Manassas police said.