HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. — A retired local police officer killed himself as the FBI stopped his car late Wednesday and sources tell CBS New York that the officer was being investigated for ties to another ex-cop who is accused of a quadruple murder.
The station reports that when FBI agents pulled over a car in Haverstraw at 8:20 am. Wednesday, Gerard Benderoth pulled out a firearm and shot himself in the head. The Journal News reports that Haverstraw Police Chief Charles Miller said Benderoth had retired from his job with the Haverstraw Police Department about two years ago.
Sources told the station that Benderoth was being investigated in connection with former Briarcliff Manor police Officer Nicholas Tartaglione who was arrested in December in the murder of four Orange County men – Martin Santos-Luna, Miguel Sosa-Luna, Urbano Morales-Santiago, and Hector Gutierrez – who had all disappeared months before.
Tartaglione was also reportedly arrested on allegations that he was selling cocaine. It is believed that at least one of the victims was involved in drug trafficking.
On the quiet streets of Haverstraw, residents were shocked by the connection – remembering Benderoth as having a warm heart.
“Always had his kids with him, you know, just seemed like a regular, you know, nice guy – always plesant to us,” said deli worker Lisa Hanson. “You know, just a regular guy.”
In addition to his career as an officer, Benderoth was also a strongman competitor. The Rockland County native was a known figure in the community, and his weightlifting photos hung in his regular deli.