Hunt For Nurse Who Set Coworker On Fire Comes To A Shocking End

The search for a traveling nurse who had set a hospital coworker on fire, ended Tuesday when New Jersey police found him dead.

Nicholas Pagano was found dead in his car from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Pagano, a male nurse who had been working for Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) since November 2021, set a 54-year-old female hospital employee on fire and assaulted her with a wrench early Monday morning, leaving her in critical condition.

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said the victim received treatment at HUMC emergency room for third-degree burns on her upper body and hands as well as a head would that required stitches. Musella said she was later transferred to another medical facility to continue care.

Pagano would have been facing five charges: first-degree attempted murder; second-degree aggravated arson against a person; second-degree aggravated arson against the property; second-degree aggravated assault; third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose; and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.

Musella had released a statement Monday saying that Pagano was armed and dangerous adding that he had fled the hospital in a 1998 white Jeep Grand Cherokee with New Jersey plates reading S57NJH.

“Violence will not be tolerated in our network. Our doctors, nurses, and teams are true heroes and deserve our respect. The safety of our patients and our team members is Hackensack Meridian Health’s highest priority,” HUMC said in a statement.

Both the motive for the attack and Pagano’s death are under investigation.

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