The Pentagon is seen on Oct. 21, 2021.

The Pentagon is seen on Oct. 21, 2021. (Robert H. Reid/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — An intelligence specialist who worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was found dead several months ago in a Pentagon parking lot died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, investigators have concluded.

Master Sgt. Juan Paulo Ferrer Bordador was found dead in a vehicle on March 14 in the North Parking lot, which is just north of the Pentagon across Virginia Highway 110 not far from the banks of the Potomac River. Emergency medics responded to the scene after Bordador, 42, was found unresponsive inside the vehicle and determined he was already dead. Military officials later said he was an intelligence senior sergeant for the Joint Staff at the time of his death.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division investigated Bordador’s death for several weeks before reaching its conclusion.

“The investigation into the tragic death of Master Sgt. Juan Paulo Ferrer Bordador … was concluded July 25,” a CID spokesperson said. “The investigation by Army CID and the autopsy conducted by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner both concluded the cause of death was a contact gunshot wound to chest, and the manner of death was suicide.”

Army officials said Bordador was assigned to the Joint Staff security office two years ago as the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Technical Surveillance Countermeasure program. Members of the Joint Staff are from all six branches of the military and serve under the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the defense secretary and the military’s combatant commands.

Bordador was from Daly City, Calif., and spent time in his military career as an operations manager in Japan and an agent of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, according to his obituary. Bordador received various awards and honors, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Combat Action Badge.

“JP lived an exceptional life that was devoted in service to his country and to his family,” his obituary stated. “As a young father, one of the earliest jobs he took was working for the [Transportation Security Administration], where the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, inspired him to seek a career protecting his country.”

Suicides in all branches of the armed forces have been a rising concern for the Pentagon in recent years. Suicides among active-duty troops increased by 25% during the first three months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, according to a Defense Department report in July. The Army saw the greatest quarterly increase, from 37 last year to 49 this year. Pentagon data showed a particular rise in suicides in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, and the Defense Department has spent millions of dollars on prevention efforts. In May, the Pentagon enacted the long-awaited Brandon Act to let troops seek mental health services confidentially and any time they need it.

“Every death by suicide is a tragedy that impacts our people, our military units, and our readiness,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said. “We have the most technologically advanced military in the world, but our service members are our most important resource as a fighting force. Mental health wellness and suicide prevention remain critical aspects to our success.”

Service members who need mental health treatment are encouraged to call the crisis line — by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-8255 — or sending a text message to 838255. They can also visit for help.

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Doug G. Ware covers the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. He has many years of experience in journalism, digital media and broadcasting and holds a degree from the University of Utah. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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