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March 22, 2016

Death of New Jersey policeman found dead in car ruled suicide

Off-duty officer discovered fatally shot in parking lot

Police Suicide
Sayreville Police Department Sayreville Police Department/Facebook

The seal for the Sayreville Police Department.

The cause of death for a New Jersey police officer found fatally shot inside a vehicle Monday has been ruled a suicide.

The Sayreville Police Department posted a statement from Chief John J. Zebrowski on their Facebook page Tuesday afternoon concerning the passing of Matthew Kurtz, who was off duty when his body was discovered in his car in the parking lot of a vacant movie theater in Sayreville, Middlesex County.

The statement calls Kurtz a “cop’s cop” and thanks everyone who has reached out with support, adding that suicide is an "insidious predator." Here's the full statement:

We are gratified by the outpouring of support that we have received from our community, as well as from our brothers and sisters in law enforcement during this very difficult time. We continue to grieve for the loss of Matthew and his family remains steadfastly in our prayers.

Matthews’s death sheds more light on an insidious predator that has taken his life and so many others in law enforcement as well. Sadly, suicide remains a leading cause of police officer deaths. Thus, the method by which he lost his life does not make our loss any less tragic. In fact, it leaves only a greater void as many questions will remain unanswered.

Matthew was clearly a “cop’s cop.” He was smart, hardworking, a volunteer in our community and a leader within the PBA. Incidents like these cause us to consider that while we have equipped and trained our Officers well for the external forces that remain a daily threat, more remains to be done to reduce those internal factors that are equally threatening.

I am reminded of the last paragraph in the Police Officer Prayer to Saint Michael which reads: “We will be as proud to guard the throne of God as we have been to guard the city of men.” The men and women of the Sayreville Police Department are confident that Matthew is now on that Watch and adeptly handling those duties.

Once again, we greatly appreciate the respectful and considerate support that has been received.

According to 6ABC, Kurtz was a nine-year veteran of the force who was employed as an undercover officer. 

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.