Deputy Sheriff Joseph J. Rybka, Jr.

Deputy Sheriff Joseph J. Rybka, Jr.

Bergen County Sheriff's Office, New Jersey

End of Watch Sunday, January 7, 1979

Add to My Heroes

Joseph J. Rybka, Jr.

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Rybka was shot and killed by a wounded prisoner he was guarding at Bergen Pines County Hospital.

The suspect was able to overpower Deputy Rybka at 3:08 am and gain control of his service weapon. He then fired four shots at Deputy Rybka, striking him three times. The suspect fled the hospital but was arrested approximately 30 minutes later, still holding Deputy Rybka's service weapon. The suspect was in the hospital because he had been wounded during a shootout with two Teaneck detectives four days earlier.

The 22-year-old suspect had a very lengthy criminal record which included a dozen convictions for assault, larceny, forgery, breaking and entering, fraud, illegal weapons possession, and receiving stolen property. He was convicted of Deputy Rybka's murder and sentenced to life. He was denied on July 16, 2022. He will be eligible for parole again on October 31, 2026.

Deputy Rybka had served with the Bergen County Sheriff's Office for 10 years and was assigned to Courthouse Security. He is survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

prisoner custody

Most Recent Reflection

View all 59 Reflections

today is your brithday thinking of you all the time

patricia rybka

May 17, 2024

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.