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Bergen Security Officer Jumps To Death 'Without Warning' From Palisades

Michael Shaffer
Michael Shaffer Photo Credit: FACEBOOK photo
At the scene.
At the scene. Photo Credit: COURTESY: PIP Police

ALPINE, N.J. -- A 38-year-old Bergen County security officer jumped to his death from the Palisades in Alpine late Friday while talking with officers trying to rescue him, authorities confirmed.

UPDATE: A funeral Mass was scheduled Wednesday for Michael T. Shaffer, a Bergenfield native who lived in Ridgefield.

A candlelight vigil was held Saturday night at the State Line Lookout in Alpine, near the spot where Shaffer jumped to his death late Friday.

Ridgefield police had issued a Be On the Lookout (BOLO) alert at 8:45 p.m. after discovering Shaffer's possible intentions when Palisades Interstate Parkway officers found his truck in the Route 9W parking area near the Women's Federation Monument Bridge, PIP Police Chief Michael Coppola said.

The officers began talking with Shaffer, who explained why he was there -- "and then without warning jumped from the cliff," Coppola said.

Members of the East Bergen Rappel Team "working feverishly in rain conditions" retrieved Shaffer from the area below, he said.

The county Bureau of Police Services officer was "severely injured, unconscious, and breathing" when they found him, the chief said.

He then went into traumatic cardiac arrest as he was being lifted to the top, Coppola said.

Shaffer was pronounced dead at the scene before being taken to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

"The original plan was to medevac him out since he was unconscious but alive," a responder told Daily Voice earlier, "but he ended up being transported via ground to [the hospital]."

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