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.”
View this post on Instagram
We are sad to report another officer lost to suicide within the past 24 hours. We send our sincere condolences to Sgt. Daniel Pagnotta's family, friends and to the Trenton, New Jersey Police Department for your loss. Sgt. Daniel Pagnotta, a 21-year-veteran of the department. We can't express enough to all of our First Responders that "You are deserving of help and healing, and no one needs to struggle alone." #YouAreNotAlone #RIPSgtpagnotta #helpisavailable #WeOurBrothersKeeper #ItsNotWeak2Speak #Resilience #Rebound911
All of us here at the Plainsboro Twp. Police Department would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues on the loss of Sgt. Daniel Pagnotta III of the Trenton Police Department. pic.twitter.com/I2pu8g1SgP
— Plainsboro Township Police Department (@PlainsboroTwpPD) July 29, 2020
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.