He arrived home for a family meeting on December 29 [Photo: Christopher Kipsang]

As the world ushered in a new year, Ngeria in Kapseret Constituency, Uasin Gishu County, was in mourning after losing one of their own. David Too, 51, a police officer attached to the office of Deputy President William Ruto, drowned in a dam in Songoliet Sub-location, in what police suspect was suicide.

Elkana Kirwa, a neighbour to the officer, said he was walking to a nearby quarry when he heard Too scream. “I was walking to work and I heard someone screaming. I rushed to the dam and I found him calling for help while swimming towards one of the walls. I asked someone living near the dam to rush to the scene with a rope. A young man arrived with the rope, and we threw it to him in an attempt to pull the officer out, but he drowned. We couldn’t help because none of us could dive,” he said.

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According to his family, Too, a father of eight, and with 25 years of experience in the service, arrived home on December 29 for a family meeting. Too’s family says he had been a visibly frustrated man since his arrival on Tuesday. They told The Sunday Standard the man had been unsettled after losing a camera.

His elder brother Aaron Sing’oei said Too arrived home with a camera, which was later stolen by burglars on the same day. “My brother had a camera, which he told us belonged to the Press Unit in the office of the DP. He removed the camera from the car and left it in his house and proceeded to a family meeting with our extended family in Birbiriet village. On returning, he complained that his house had been broken into and the camera stolen,” Mr Sing’oei said.

According to Sing’oei, Too reported the loss of the camera at the nearby Kiambaa police station. “A team of police officers came and dusted the house after the matter was reported. Hours later no suspect was arrested, and we don’t know how the investigations went,” he said.

Sing'oei said on New Year’s Eve, his brother confided in him that he had been called from the office and accused of selling the camera. “He (Too) told one of his daughters he was a man of integrity, and that he had never sold anybody’s property as alleged,” the elder brother said. He added: “He called me at 8.57am and told me he was under immense pressure before suddenly hanging up. I came to know that he drowned after hanging up. We found his phone at the point where he jumped into the water.”

Sing'oei described his brother as the family’s pillar, saying they depended on the fifth born in a family of 10 whenever they faced financial challenges. Songoliet Assistant Chief Edwin Tarus said Too was a quiet man who relocated to the area recently. “It is sad that we have lost him in this manner. He is the third resident we are losing in this dam in recent years, and we are doing everything within our powers to have it fenced,” the assistant chief said.

Deputy President William Ruto, in a tweet yesterday morning, mourned the late corporal, saying he was a dependable officer. “Our heartfelt condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of our staff member David Kiprotich Too. Corporal Too was dependable, approachable, took pride in his work and strived to put things right,” Ruto tweeted.

He added: “We will best remember him for his humility, punctuality and team spirit. Rest in peace, Corporal Too.” Uasin Gishu County Police Commander Ayub Gitonga said an investigation was launched after Too reported the loss of the camera.

Mr Gitonga said Too did not leave behind a suicide note. He said the claims of the officer being under pressure over the missing equipment would be investigated. Too's body was taken to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary awaiting postmortem.

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A police source, who said he had known Too for more than 20 years, described him as a down-to-earth man. A team of staff from the Deputy President Press Service arrived at the scene as divers struggled to recover the body and later condoled with the family.