An officer with the East Java Police, identified as First. Brig. Bambang Setiawan, has died from three gunshot wounds to the chest in what the National Police are saying was a suicide.
The police say guilt over stealing a small amount of cash from his neighbour in the past had driven Bambang to take his own life with a V-2 automatic rifle while on duty at the Nganjuk Police compound in East Java on Sunday night.
No witnesses were present when the alleged suicide took place as the seven other officers on duty were away from their work stations.
"The victim was pronounced dead on the way to the Bhayangkara Police Hospital," Nganjuk Police spokesman Adj. Comr. Bambang Sutikno said on Monday.
The East Java Police are conducting an investigation into the alleged suicide.
Separately, National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said that Bambang Setiawan had committed suicide because of a "sin" from his past.
"I received a report from the East Java Police chief [Insp. Gen. Unggung Cahyono], that Bambang once stole Rp 650,000 [US$55] from his neighbour. He felt guilty and was burdened with shame and this eventually led to the suicide," Sutarman said on Monday.
Mardiyanto, the spokesman for Bambang's family, said that the deceased officer had not told his family about any problems prior to the incident.
Bambang's alleged guilt over such a small sum stands in stark contrast to some high-ranking police generals, who officially earn between Rp 10 million to Rp 30 million a month, and yet own large homes and luxury cars, raising suspicions that they amass fortunes by committing graft.
Former National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas) chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a two-star general with a Rp 28-million monthly salary, has been found guilty of embezzling funds from a driving simulator procurement project, which caused Rp 144.9 billion in state losses.
Djoko was the owner of land, compounds, gas stations and flashy cars, with most of them registered under the names of his relatives and three wives.
Sutarman said that the force had made efforts to improve the welfare of its members and that a 28 per cent pay raise had increased a brigadier's monthly salary to betweenRp 3 million and Rp 6 million.
"If they manage their money well, it's more than enough to pay the school tuition of their children," he said.
There have been a few cases of police suicide this year. In May, a Jakarta Police investigator shot himself in the head inside his bedroom.
In January, a Magelang Police officer was found dead also from a gunshot wound to the head.
In response to the cases, the National Police said that it would require all officers undergo a psychological test every six or 12 months.