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Hero Down: Trenton Police Sgt. Daniel Pagnotta Found Dead Of Apparent Suicide

Plainsboro, NJ – Trenton Police Department (TPD) Sergeant Daniel Pagnotta died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Monday.

Plainsboro Police Department (PPD) Lieutenant John Bresnen said that local officers began searching for Sgt. Pagnotta, 43, after receiving a BOLO alert from Hopewell police to be on the lookout for a male who was believed to be suicidal, The Trentonian reported.

Officers spotted Sgt. Pagnotta’s Dodge Durango parked in the parking lot of a business on College Road at approximately 3:45 a.m., Lt. Bresnen said.

They found the sergeant’s body in the rear tailgate area, along with his discharged duty weapon and at least three letters addressed to family members, Lt. Bresnen told The Trentonian.

Investigators believe Sgt. Pagnotta took his own life, but are awaiting autopsy results for confirmation, according to the lieutenant.

“Sgt. Pagnotta was loved, admired and respected by his colleagues and his subordinates,” Trenton Police Director Sheilah Coley said, according to The Trentonian. “He is going to be greatly missed within this agency as well as the city of Trenton. His heart was here.”

Sgt. Pagnotta, a married father of two, served the TPD for 21 years.

His father is also a retired TPD officer, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora told The Trentonian.

“[Sgt. Pagnotta] was devoted to Trenton and police work from the time he joined the force after graduating from the police academy in 1999,” Gusciora said. “[He was] “proud to continue a legacy of law enforcement in his family.”

The mayor said Sgt. Pagnotta was beloved by everyone at his department.

Mercer County Undersheriff Pedro Medina, a former TPD officer, said that Sgt. Pagnotta was a “good, dedicated police officer,” The Trentonian reported.

“It’s so heartbreaking,” he said. “My prayers for the family.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Trenton Police Department Sergeant Daniel Pagnotta, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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