🚨 Passaic County Sheriff reportedly killed himself Tuesday afternoon

🚨 Sheriff Richard Berdnik was going through some professional difficulties

🚨 Friends are at a loss to explain what happened

New Jersey's law enforcement community has been rocked by the apparent suicide death of the Passaic County sheriff.

Multiple reports say Sheriff Richard Berdnik was at the Turkish restaurant Toros in Clifton on Tuesday afternoon.

Reports say Passaic County Sheriff Richard Burdnick shot himself inside Toros Restaurant in Clifton. Google Maps
Reports say Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik shot himself inside Toros Restaurant in Clifton.
Google Maps

NJ.com reports Berdnik went into the bathroom and shortly after a single gunshot was heard. He was found dead inside.

Berdnick, a married father with four grown children, spent a career in law enforcement. Friends and colleagues are stunned. He was an elected Democrat.

New Jersey State PBA President Pat Colligan called Berdnik "a true public servant who worked every day with the men and women of the sheriff’s department to keep Passaic County streets and neighborhoods safe."

Gov. Phil Murphy described Berdnik as "a close friend."

"Tammy and I were blessed to have counted Sheriff Berdnik as a close friend," Murphy said in a statement. "We will miss him — and his leadership — dearly. And we are sending our prayers and condolences to Sheriff Berdnik’s wife, Monica, their four adult children, and the entire team at the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office."

Help is available

If you feel you or someone you know may be in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988, 1-800-273-TALK, the NJ Hopeline at 1-855-654-6735 or click here to chat online with a trained counselor.

More questions than answers

The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office is not commenting and friends have offered no possible explanation.

Berdnik was highly respected and politically connected, but he had also been going through a tough time professionally.

A week ago three Passaic County corrections officers were brought up on federal charges connected to the alleged beating of an inmate.

He also had to let his department know 29 officers were being laid off because the jail was closing.

Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik seen at a recent promotion ceremony. (Facebook/Passaic County Sheriff's Office)
Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik seen at a recent promotion ceremony.
(Facebook/Passaic County Sheriff's Office)

Those who knew Berdnik expressed shock and sadness but offered no explanation.

It is not known if he left behind any kind of note.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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