A veteran New Jersey police officer fatally shot himself as first responders attempted to free him from his wrecked car on Sunday afternoon.
Patrolman Edward Nortrup, 39, of the Roselle Park Police Department, was driving in Matawan Sunday afternoon when he reportedly lost control of his vehicle, crashing into two parked cars before partially rolling over in front of the Matawan Municipal Community Center, NJ.com reported.
Nortrup, who was off-duty at the time, was trapped but alive in the car when first responders got to him.
"As first responders left the vehicle to get equipment to help with the extraction, the driver located a firearm and fatally shot himself," a spokesman for Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office told the New York Post.
Police Chief Daniel McCaffery confirmed how Nortrup died. He "removed a gun in his possession and fired one shot, tragically taking his own life," McCaffery said.
A 13-year-veteran with the department, Nortrup most recently worked in the Detective Bureau and was a member of the Union County Emergency Response Team.
"Patrolman Nortrup was a co-worker, friend, and a brother," Roselle Park Police said in a statement on Monday. "Always willing to help others, Patrolman Nortrup was a well-respected member of the law-enforcement community, and will be sorely missed."
The union representing Roselle Park police officers is raising money to benefit Nortrup's 15-month-old daughter, Evelyn. The department noted on Facebook that the Roselle Park PBA Local 27's GoFundMe page is the only legitimate online fundraiser.
"We would ask that you respect the privacy of the family during this time of grieving," Roselle Park Police said.
New Jersey saw 17 police suicides last year and 37 since 2016, NJ.com reported. This has prompted the Attorney General's Office to launch a program requiring every officer in the state to take a two-day training course on mental health by the end of 2022.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text 741-741.