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

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 parole in August of 2010.

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

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Captain Blair Wolfe, who passed on June 20th of 2017 spoke beautifully of your husband all the time and I know they were very close. Now they are together in heaven keeping things safe up there. Much love to you and your son. You are always in my heart.

Janice Wolfe
Wife of Captain Blair Wolfe

July 13, 2018

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