MONTEBELLO (CBSLA) — A police officer who died of a gunshot wound at the Montebello Police Department’s headquarters was identified as a recent transplant to Southern California who was looking forward to a new career after serving as a correctional officer.

Officer Kenneth Utsinger was found dead Sunday morning of a gunshot wound. He was shot by his own service weapon inside the station, and a ruling on his death is pending initial investigation.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the original call for assistance indicated the shooting was an apparent suicide.

In a statement released Monday, Montebello police Chief Brad Keller identified Utsinger as an officer who had just been sworn in on Jan. 23. Utsinger previously worked as a correctional officer in Oklahoma for 11 years, before moving to California in 2017 to be closer to his wife’s family. Keller said Utsinger’s lifelong dream had been to be a police officer, inspiring his peers at the Rio Hondo Police Academy to vote him the “most inspirational recruit.”

“We can never prepare for losing someone so unexpectedly and we can certainly never understand why someone with so much potential and passion for public service would leave us too soon,” Keller said in his statement.

Utsinger is survived by his wife, father, mother, sister-in-law.

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