Those who work at Southampton Town Justice Court are reeling from deaths of two of their employees, one of whom died at the courthouse.
Mark Sidor, the chief court officer, went to work at the court on Jackson Avenue in Hampton Bays Monday morning and was later found in his office. He died of “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki said by phone on Wednesday. No further details were released, as the department is waiting a report from the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.
Sidor, 56, worked for the town for slightly more than 36 years. “It is a tragic loss for the police department. We’re all very sympathetic and supportive to the family right now. He was a revered member of the police department, a long-time exemplary officer of the court. He will be sorely missed,” Skrynecki said.
He remembered Sidor, a former East Quogue fire chief, as a great family man, a pillar of the community, who was well-liked by all. “I think just about anybody who had any interaction with him, left with a very good feeling,” the chief said.
Services will be held on Saturday at the Scott Rothwell Funeral Home in Hampton Bays from 10 AM to 2 PM.
Justice court employees were already mourning the loss of Roxana Flores, a part-time Spanish-language interpreter, who died from complications of the novel coronavirus on May 5. Flores, 47, had worked at the justice court for about 10 years, and was well-regarded by her co-workers.
Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the two deaths have left employees in the small courthouse devastated.
“I consider the town a family as well, in a different way, but we all interconnected. It hard to lose a member of the town work force — in this case we lost two in a short period of time. We’re grieving as a municipal government but we also want to best support the families of these two employees,” he said.
“Our little courthouse has been rocked,” said Barbara Wilson, one of the four sitting Southampton Town justices.
“Roxana was a smiling happy wonderful person,” Wilson said. She recalled how proud Flores was of her eldest son, who is in college working on a double major. “When she left Costa Rica, this was just a dream and it was a dream realized,” she said.
Flores leaves behind a husband and three children, ages 12, 16, and 21. A GoFundMe page created last week, ended on Tuesday, after they raised more than $25,000.
Wilson said that Sidor was not only a colleague, but a friend, someone who was there in the best and worst of times, Wilson said. “Mark was our foundation. We’re a little jilted off our foundation.”
The court officers are the first people anyone visiting the courthouse sees and he set the tone. “No matter who you were, if you were the defendant, if you were the translator, if you were the judge, he treated you with dignity and respect.”
“Mark was the justice court,” Wilson said. “He was very professional. He was very balanced. He was one of those people who had a keen sense of what was going on around him. He was ready wherever needed,” she said, adding he was able to handle whatever came his way and often was able to calm people down when tensions rose. “He was always a shining light in that court.”
Though court is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was there on Monday morning for a meeting with the justices in order to come up with a plan for reopening in a way that made everyone feel as safe from the virus as possible. “That’s what he was concerned with.”
He also loved being a father and a grandfather, Wilson said.
The losses of Sidor and Flores are compounded by the fact that they can’t console one another, the judge said. “We just can’t be there like we want to be,” she said. “And we still have to do our job. I know that Mark would want us to do that . . . but it’s going to be hard without him.”