A United Nations security guard was found dead today, with a gunshot wound to the head, in an empty lounge at the world body's headquarters in New York, UN officials said.
The body of Senior Security Officer Michael Halton, 41, was discovered by two other security guards shortly before noon when a search was begun after he failed to report back to his post following his regular break at 10 a.m., UN Security Chief Michael McCann said at a press briefing.
Mr. Halton was found seated in a lounge on the third floor of the General Assembly building with a gunshot wound to his head, Mr. McCann said, adding that a 9-millimetre handgun was found next to his leg on the chair.
The exact cause of death is currently under investigation and the UN has invited the New York City Police Department and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist in the probe, Mr. McCann said.
"We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family," Mr. McCann said. "Michael was a terrific officer. He was someone that many of us would see when we walked in the building from the visitor's entrance…Very personable, very friendly, smile on his face and somebody that greeted everybody in a positive manner every day when we walked in or when we walked through his post."
Mr. Halton was from Sayville, New York, and a 16-year veteran of the UN Security and Safety Service. He is survived by his wife and two children.