A 360-pound strongman and former NYPD cop known in the weightlifting world as White Rhino killed himself Wednesday after being pulled over by the FBI, several sources have said.
From Daily Mail
Gerard Benderoth, 48, was stopped in Haverstraw, New York, around 8:20 am. He shot and killed himself as officials approached his vehicle, the North Rockland Daily Voice reported.
Law enforcement sources cited Benderoth’s close friendship with former Westchester County officer Nicholas Tartaglione, who was accused of a quadruple murder in December last year.
The avid weightlifter, who was once filmed hoisting an 800-pound barbell, decided he wanted to be ‘big and strong’ aged 13 after watching Conan The Barbarian.
His career in law enforcement included more than 10 years at the NYPD, during which he was a 9/11 responder.
Authorities didn’t confirm why Benderoth had been pulled over but told the North Rockland Daily Voice about his relationship with Tartaglione, who is accused of killing four people in a drug deal gone wrong.
Tartaglione, a fellow weightlifter, was arrested and charged in December after authorities said they had dug up four bodies on his property.
The former cop has been charged by US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office with participation in a conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms and more of cocaine and the ‘senseless murders’ of four men.
Tartaglione was previously involved in a feud with TV host Clay Tiffany, who accused the ex-officer of assaulting him before earning a $1 million settlement, News 12 reported at the time.
It is unclear how Benderoth might have been connected to the case. The FBI declined to identify the strongman but confirmed to the New York Post that someone had committed suicide after being stopped.
His death occurred on a residential street, not far from an elementary school.
Benderoth recounted in a 2012 video how watching Conan The Barbarian had changed his life – and personality – by triggering his obsession with bulking up.
‘Here I am, a scrawny little kid, never lifted a weight in my life, had low self-esteem issues,’ he said.
‘I walked out of that movie theater with my eyes wide open, my jaw hit the floor. I walked out there and my buddy said the movie sucked. I said it was the single greatest moment of my life.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do at that moment. All I knew was that I wanted to be big and strong and that’s the only thing that has mattered to me since.’
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