Officer shot in ‘hostile mob’ ambush named N.J. trooper of the year
During the exchange of gunfire, the suspects fired 13 rounds at Detective Richard Hershey who sustained a gunshot wound to his abdomen
By S.P. Sullivan
When this dispatcher asked the 911 caller what his emergency was, the voice on the other end of the line got right to the point.
“My name is Rick Hershey. I’m a trooper. I’ve been shot.”
Hershey, who was responding to a report of an April 25 home invasion at the Harding Woods Trailer Park in Pittsgrove Township, was interviewing witnesses when several suspects returned to the scene in a caravan of vehicles and fired a barrage of bullets toward the trooper. The gunfire peppered the nearby trailer homes and struck Hersey in the abdomen.
The New Jersey State Police formally recognized Hershey as the division’s 2020 Trooper of the Year this week, citing his “fearless and courageous actions” during the assault.
“Despite being critically wounded, Detective Hershey had the presence of mind to approach the fleeing vehicle and strike it with his handgun to leave a distinguishing mark to assist with later identifying the vehicle,” the division said in a statement announcing the honor.
Authorities previously said the harrowing ordeal started with a group of five women who allegedly broke into another woman’s home, assaulted her and stole her iPhone.
The five women and 10 others were ultimately charged with taking part in a “hostile mob” that pulled up in front of the home and confronted the witnesses and Hershey.
“The members of this lawless caravan were armed and bent on violence when they arrived late at night at the mobile home park, and when Detective Hershey prevented them from attacking their intended victim, at least three caravan members allegedly opened fired on him from their vehicles,” state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in May, following the arrests.
Hershey, a detective in the Troop “A” Criminal Investigation Office, was hospitalized for several weeks before making a “full recovery,” authorities said.
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