The police lieutenant who shot himself in the stomach Friday was recently visited by the feds in the NYPD corruption investigation — making him the second cop in five months to turn his weapon on himself after being drawn into the probe.
Lt. Peter Salzone, who remained hospitalized Saturday, was being called on to potentially testify against his friend and former boss, Deputy Inspector James Grant, sources told The Post.
Salzone, who was Grant’s integrity-control officer, was rushed to the hospital Friday afternoon after shooting himself twice in the stomach while at his girlfriend’s Oakland Gardens apartment in Queens.
The Force Investigations Division is looking at the possibility that Salzone never intended to kill himself and was instead trying to appear emotionally unstable so as to sabotage his credibility as a witness, one source said.
The feds had stopped by Salzone’s Staten Island apartment sometime in the past two weeks — and his union lawyers were arranging for him to speak further with the feds, sources told The Post.
Salzone on Saturday was “modified” by the department — stripped of his gun and badge.
He is the second police official to shoot himself after getting called into the federal probe. NYPD Inspector Michael Ameri committed suicide in May.
“The department failed this lieutenant [Salzone] by, A, not getting him evaluated to see if he was at risk, and, B, failing to change his duty status so that he did not have a weapon,” said a high-ranking police source.
“How many members of the service were visited [by federal or NYPD Internal Affairs investigators] and not evaluated for their stability?” the source asked.
“How many more are going to hurt themselves? You’re dealing with people where the Police Department is their entire life.”
Grant’s lawyer, John Meringolo, agreed.
“There should be an investigation into what is being said that is making such tragic and uncharacteristic actions by these decorated officers.”
Dozens of cops have been grilled in the probe by Internal Affairs officers and federal investigators — with many threatened with charges and the loss of pensions if they don’t cooperate, sources said.
Testifying against Grant would likely cause particular emotional torment for Salzone.
The two were close, having worked together at both Brooklyn’s 72nd Precinct and Manhattan’s 19th Precinct.
It was Grant who had brought Salzone over from Brooklyn to Manhattan, appointing him as the Upper East Side precinct’s integrity-control officer.
Grant is literally crotch-deep in the sordid corruption case, which alleges that he and two other cops accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from two Brooklyn businessman — including the favors of a prostitute during a flight to Vegas.
In return, Grant allegedly helped arrange such “cops on call” favors as police escorts on demand and expedited gun licenses.
Initial accounts were that Salzone had shot himself four times — but two of the injuries to his stomach were exit wounds from his firing twice.
Shocked neighbors on Saturday described Salzone as “a regular guy,” although “there were a few times detectives came over,” one said.