Sheriff Shoots and Kills Himself Inside Restaurant

( – A sheriff from Passaic County, New Jersey shot and killed himself inside the bathroom of a locally popular Turkish restaurant.

According to testimony and statements gathered from various witnesses, Richard Berdnik had a late lunch at Toros, a well-known Turkish restaurant in Clifton, New Jersey. At roughly 3:30 in the afternoon that day, he went into the men’s restroom of the restaurant. A few minutes later, patrons heard the sound of a gun being fired come from inside.

Within a few minutes, swarms of first responders were at the restaurant. Local authorities say that the gunshot wound appeared to be self-inflicted. Berdnik’s apparent suicide comes after the local sheriff’s department faces a number of challenges, including layoffs and a scandal involving officers charged with assaulting an inmate.

According to a report from the Bergen Record, the sheriff had recently sent a memo out, saying that the department was experiencing financial difficulties, which saw 29 jail correction officers cut from the staff. In addition, two sergeants and a correctional officer for the county were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and deprivation of rights after they allegedly beat up a pretrial detainee. Prosecutors allege that the two sergeants, Jose Gonzalez and Donald Vinales, took the detainee to a blind spot in the jail – an area not covered by surveillance cameras – and beat him up, while the corrections officer looked on and did not intervene. The incident was said to have been provoked by the detainee splashing urine on a corrections officer.

Berdnik was a career law enforcement officer, and had just won his fifth term as sheriff in 2022. Before being elected sheriff in 2011, Berdnik was a member of the Clifton Police Department.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, who confirmed the sheriff’s death through a Facebook, said that he affectionately dubbed Berdnik with the moniker “America’s Sheriff.”

“He was an exemplary law enforcement leader and a cherished friend,” Mayor Sayegh said.

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