Police suicide: NJ officer shoots self after crashing car in Matawan
Foreground: Roselle Park Police Officer Edward Nortrup (Roselle Park PD)
MATAWAN — A Roselle Park police officer died after shooting himself in the head just after he was involved in a crash on Sunday, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
The 39-year-old officer from Aberdeen, whose identity was not revealed, appeared to have lost control of his vehicle just after noon on Broad Street in Matawan, according to prosecutor's office spokesman Chris Swendeman. He struck two parked cars, and then his vehicle partially rolled over before coming to a stop, Swendeman said.
As first-responders left the vehicle to get equipment to help free the officer, he used a firearm to fatally shoot himself in the head, according to Swendeman.
Swendeman did not say if the weapon used was the officer's service weapon, or disclose other circumstances of the crash.
“We are grieving as a department for the loss of our officer," Roselle Park Chief of Police Daniel J. McCaffery said in an email to New Jersey 101.5.
Following Sunday's incident, New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association president Parick Colligan told New Jersey 101.5 a call about an officer suicide is the worst call to get.
"I always feel like this is preventable. It's not like a line-of-duty of death. There's always danger out there but these are the deaths that are hard because somehow we missed this guy and didn't get him help," Colligan said.
The state lost 17 officers to suicide in 2018, and 37 since 2016.
This summer, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the launch of the New Jersey Resiliency Program for Law Enforcement, which requires a two-day training program for officers at some point by the end of 2021. Grewal said first-of-its-kind directive aims to teach officers how to better handle the day-to-day pressures of their jobs.
If you feel you or someone you know may be in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK, or the NJ Hopeline, 1-855-654-6735.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the town the officer served in, based on a statement made at the time by the Morris County Prosecutor's Office.
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