Trenton cop accused of sex with prostitute takes own life, reports say
TRENTON — A Trenton police officer under investigation for prostitution at the police K9 facility has taken his own life, according to multiple reports.
"It is with heartfelt sadness that we are confirming the death of our brother officer Officer Ed Leopardi. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends," Trenton Police spokesman Lt. Detective Steve Varn said in a statement to New Jersey 101.5.
A New Jersey Advance Media report said it was "widely known" among Trenton officers Leopardi took his own life. The officers who spoke to the news organization did not elaborate and the report did not cite them by name. The Trentonian said Wednesday it had confirmed the suicide with the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, which has not yet returned a call late Wednesday from New Jersey 101.5 seeking comment.
Leopardi was reportedly found in his Gloucester County home Wednesday.
According to a Gloucester County Democrat website promoting his run for mayor in Franklin Township, Leopardi was a 20-year veteran of the force, a Franklin Township committeeman and former mayor. He was a former Little League coach and umpire and a former EMT. He and his wife Rene had three children, according to the site.
Current Frankin Township Mayor Sheryl Neely called it a "sad day for our community. We ask that all residents of Franklin Township take this time to mourn Ed’s passing and to take time to express their personal condolences to Ed’s wife, Rene, and their family"
Earlier, 6 ABC reported that officers who work for the department's K9 unit were under investigation after a prostitute told police she had "visited" officers at their facility. The prostitute was reportedly arrested on an unrelated charge, and unsuccessfully turned to officers for help — then named names once they refused to assist her.
Varn and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office would only confirm to New Jersey 101.5 earlier Wednesday that there was an investigation; they would not offer details.
Trentonian reports citing unnamed sources said Leopardi, specifically, was under investigation.
Veteran photo journalist Brian McCarthy called Leopardi a "cop's cop" and remembered him getting involved in a blood drive for Trenton officers Edgar Rios and James Letts who were shot during a domestic violence incident in 2013.
McCarthy recalled Leopardi making calls that got the media to the event and blood donations well over their goal.
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