The Ewing (NJ) Police Department is mourning the loss of one its decorated officers.  On Monday, September 24, at approximately 2:30 A.M., a police sergeant found Officer Mathew Wallace outside the township police station on Jake Garzio Drive.  A post mortem examination revealed that Wallace died of a single gunshot wound to the head. The death was ruled a suicide.

Although toxicology results are not available, there were no indications that Wallace had been under the influence at the time of his death.  First Assistant Prosecutor Angelo Onofri stated that all indications were that Wallace had been off duty and that he had been alone at the time of his death.

Wallace was a lifelong Ewing resident. He had attended Mercer County Community College, majoring in criminal justice.  Wallace was hired by the Ewing police in 1999; he had been assigned to the Bike Patrol Division.

Wallace had received numerous awards and commendations, including several Chief Commendations Awards and an Exceptional Duty Medal. In 2008, he was one of five officers who helped rescue a 79 year old woman from a burning home.

Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini, Jr. described Wallace as “a well-respected and well-liked member of the Ewing Police department.”

“Matt was a caring and dedicated officer who served with distinction,” Bocchini said in a press release. “He was known as being the first person to volunteer for assignments, and no job was ever too tough for him to handle. He will be greatly missed.”

Ewing Mayor Bert Steinmann had known Wallace since Wallace was 7 years old. Steinmann had been Wallace’s soccer coach, and remembered him fondly. He remembered Wallace as an outstanding officer.

“It’s a tragedy, and it’s a tremendous loss not only for the Department, but also for the community. This is the saddest day I’ve had as mayor. I’m a little distraught.”

“Matt was a good cop and a very likeable guy,” Lt. Ronald Lunetta the Department’s Officer in Charge, said in a press release. “He will be missed by our entire police department. This event can only be summed up by one word: tragic. Our thoughts and prayers will be with Matt and his family.”

Ewing PBA President, Officer Fred Dow, is one of the officers who recruited Wallace.

“He was just a happy, outgoing guy. He always had a smile on his face,” Dow said. “Everybody is taking it really hard. We’re trying to do the best we can for his family.”

Wallace is survived by his wife and young children.

Officer Matt Wallace: gone, but never forgotten.  EOW September 24, 2013.

Suicide is a serious problem among the law enforcement community.  There is help available. If you are unable to cope, or you know someone who maybe having problems, please contact Safe Call Now at (206) 459-3020, www.safecallnow.org. You will reach a trained public safety professional who has been where you are. Your call will be kept confidential by law.

To learn more:

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Ewing-Police-Officer-Suicide-225041982.html

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2013/09/ewing_police_officer_commits_suicide_at_police_headquarters.html

http://www.trentonian.com/general-news/20130924/ewing-officers-suicide-mourned-by-colleagues-friends

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2013/09/ewing_police_officer_who_committed_suicide_received_numerous_awards_and_commendations.html