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N.J. officer dies from gunshot wound in struggle with suspect

Deptford Officer Robert Shisler had undergone multiple surgeries and lost part of his right leg after being shot in March


Bert Fox, of Deptford, plays taps next of fallen police Officer Robert Shisler’s patrol car at the Deptford Police station in Deptford, NJ on Sunday, May 7, 2023. Fox came on his own volition saying, “I just felt something that told me to come.”

Dave Hernandez

Duty Death: Police Officer Robert Shisler - [Deptford Township]

End of Service: 07/05/2023

By Jeremy Roebuck
The Philadelphia Inquirer

DEPTFORD, N.J. — A Deptford Township police officer died Sunday from a gunshot wound sustained in the line of duty two months ago, authorities said.

Officer Robert Shisler, 27, had been hospitalized at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania after he was shot in the leg on March 10 by an armed suspect during a foot chase through a residential neighborhood in the Gloucester County community. Shisler returned fire, hitting the man — Mitchell Negron Jr., 24 — who was declared dead at the scene.

The incident remains under investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which has released few details about what led up to the chase.

The department announced the death of Shisler — a Deptford Township native and four-year veteran of its police force — in a Facebook post on the department’s website Sunday afternoon.

“Officer Shisler will always be remembered for his dedication and his commitment to the residents of this great community,” it read. “We are extremely grateful and thankful for his service. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.”

Shisler had been assigned to Platoon B of the department’s patrol division and was described by his fellow officers on Facebook as “an avid weight lifter and tireless volunteer.” His father and brother are also police officers, his grandmother Ethel Hawkins said in an April 24 post.

Hawkins described Shisler’s injuries as extensive, noting he’d had multiple surgeries and lost part of his right leg since he was shot.

“Thank you so very much for your prayers and love,” she wrote. “We appreciate each and every prayer for him and our family.”

She did not immediately respond to request for comment Sunday.

Friends and community members rallied around Shisler during his prolonged hospital stay, raising awareness through a social media campaign with the hashtag "#shislerstrong” and through blood drives, charity T-shirt and lawn sign sales, and by placing flowers on police cars throughout the township. An online fundraiser to help cover Shisler’s medical bills has attracted more than $130,000.

And within hours of the announcement of his death, officers and community members began to gather outside the police headquarters to greet a police procession carrying Shisler’s body from the hospital. Black bunting adorned the building’s facade in his honor and a police cruiser stood parked with flowers on its hood.

Traffic was temporarily halted on the Walt Whitman Bridge as the motorcade crossed into Pennsylvania from New Jersey. Philadelphia police officers lined 15th street, outside their headquarters at Broad and Callowhill Streets as the procession passed by on its way to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Center City.

Meanwhile, officials across the state honored Shisler and expressed their condolences to his family.

“I am grateful for the service and sacrifice of Officer Shisler and police officers across our state, and saddened by this tragic loss,” New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D., N.J.) said Shisler had served his community “with honor and integrity.”

“He made Deptford a better and saver place for everyone,” Norcross said. “We must never forget Officer Shisler’s service and sacrifice, and we will remember him as the hero that he is.”

Funeral details were not available as of Sunday evening.

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