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New Jersey nurse accused of setting colleague on fire is found dead

Nicholas Pagano was also accused of striking his colleague with a wrench in a hospital break room.

A New Jersey nurse accused of lighting a colleague on fire and striking her with a wrench was found dead Tuesday, officials said.

Nicholas Pagano, 31, was found in Waterford Township with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Prosecutor Mark Musella had announced Monday that Pagano was wanted on charges of attempted murder, aggravated arson, aggravated assault and unlawful weapons possession.

Pagano, a contracted employee at Hackensack University Medical Center, was accused of burning a 54-year-old co-worker and hitting her with a wrench in a break room. Sources told NBC Philadelphia that he used a culinary torch to set the woman on fire. He then fled, they said.

Image: Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., in 2020.Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Authorities had warned that the public should consider him armed and dangerous.

The victim, who has not been identified, "suffered third-degree burns over her upper body, face and hands, as well as a laceration to her head that required stitches," the prosecutor’s office said. She was initially treated at Hackensack University Medical Center and then transferred to another hospital.

Hackensack Meridian Health did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.